Mumbai: The capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has received complaints about insider trading by 19 companies, including Reliance Petroleum Ltd, over the past three years, Union minister for external affairs Pranab Mukherjee, who is also in charge of the finance ministry, told the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
He did not give the names of the other companies or the outcome of Sebi’s investigations.
Trading woes: A screen shot of acting finance minister Pranab Mukherjee (centre) in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday. PTI
The latest complaint was made in January, Mukherjee said.
The charges against Reliance Petroleum, a subsidiary of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), India’s most valuable company, were first made by Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh in November 2007.
In a separate development, minister of state for finance Pawan Kumar Bansal told Parliament that the Anil Ambani-run Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, India’s third largest utility, had violated the country’s overseas borrowing and foreign exchange rules by using funds raised abroad to invest in the domestic capital market.
The company had raised $360 million (Rs1,796 crore today) in July 2006. On 26 April 2007, Reliance Infrastructure brought $300 million of this into India and invested it in debt mutual funds. Later, it remitted $500 million, including the proceeds of the $300 million it had brought, in March 2008 to invest in an overseas subsidiary, Bansal said.
As per India’s laws at the time, funds raised overseas had to be kept outside the country until actually needed for the purpose for which they were raised. These funds couldn’t be routed for investments in the domestic capital market.
The Reserve Bank of India had imposed a penalty of Rs124.68 crore on the firm—a claim Reliance Infrastructure is contesting. The firm has denied it did any wrong in this regard.