Shares of Unitech Ltd fell 50% on Friday while peers DLF Ltd ( 24%) and Puravankara Projects Ltd (45%) also fell.
Unlike the others, however, Unitech’s promoters allege that the fall, which many analysts describe as investor concerns over tight cash at India’s real estate companies, was a result of “criminal” speculators and “bear cartels” spreading “malicious” rumours. Unitech said on Sunday it plans to complain to Sebi, India’s markets regulator. On Monday, Unitech shares recovered 37.6% and 21 million shares were traded.
Unitech isn’t the only company that cried wolf in recent weeks. A similar complaint by ICICI Bank Ltd hasn’t helped keep the bank’s shares afloat since. Unfortunately, Sebi isn’t known for fast work on such complaints. But the regulator owes it to investors, even if the dust has long settled by then, to explain what might have actually happened or, perhaps, not happened.?After?all, by Friday, 13 of the 14 stocks on the Bombay Stock Exchange’s Realty Index had declined between 77% and 95% in 2008, seemingly without much help from cartels and criminals.