Sebi on Tuesday restrained two Brightcom Group officials, M Suresh Kumar Reddy and Narayan Raju, from holding any managerial position in the company or its subsidiaries until further orders. Reddy is the promoter-cum-Chairman and MD of Brightcom Group Ltd (BGL) while Raju is the chief financial officer. Besides, the regulator also banned Reddy from the securities market until further orders.
"It is perhaps for the first time that Sebi is resorting to issuing a second interim order for the same entity. This has been done with much thought and deliberation, considering the scale and gravity of manipulation," Sebi's whole-time member Ashwani Bhatia said in the order.
The capital markets watchdog also prohibited 23 entities, including the four promoter group entities' from disposing of shares of BGL held by them, directly or indirectly until further order.
Auditors asked not to engage with the company
In addition, the regulator also directed BGL to ensure that its statutory auditors, P Murali & Co and PCN & Associates, including their past and present partners, are not engaged with the company or its subsidiaries in any capacity until further order.
In its latest order, Sebi said prima facie observations and findings clearly show the manipulations carried out by BGL and other noticees, in respect of the company's preferential allotments, which involve fictitious receipts of share application money from allottees and siphoning of funds from BGL.
Brightcom Group submits forged documents
However, BGL has brazenly attempted to cover up its misdeeds by submitting forged and fabricated bank statements to the regulator.
According to Sebi, the blatant acts of the company and other noticees raise serious concerns about the affairs of BGL and also raise doubts as to whether the financial statements prepared by the company and various disclosures made on the stock exchange or in annual reports in the past are correct or not.
The investigation has been able to probe only allotment made to 22 entities in the preferential issue, the order stated, and added that there is a possibility that the remaining 60 (of the total 82 allottees) may have received shared without any or partial payment.
While a detailed probe is going on in this matter to unravel the extent of fraud committed, Brightcom Group and its KMPs during the relevant time have not cooperated in the investigation.
Moreover, BGL and its CMD have resorted to the submission of forged and fabricated bank account statements to mislead the regulator.
The fabricated bank account statements have been submitted as late as June 2023, and Reddy and Raju as they remain in charge of the company's affairs.
Thus, there is a real apprehension that Suresh Reddy and Narayan Raju, if allowed to continue to be at the helm of affairs, may make every effort to derail the regulator's investigation to unravel the truth in this matter by further forging and fabricating records and misleading Sebi, the regulator said.
Investigation began in April
In April this year, Sebi has issued a show cause notice cum interim order to BGL and other persons, including Reddy after investigations revealed several instances of accounting irregularities and misstatements in the financials of the company.
As per the findings of the investigation, BGL attempted to camouflage accounting entries in excess of Rs 1,280 crore during FYs 2018-19 and 2019-20 to give a distorted picture of the company's financial position.
Sebi received complaints in respect of the preferential allotments made by BGL in FY 2019-20 and 2020-21.