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(Photo: Reuters)
(Photo: Reuters)

Franklin Templeton: Sebi appoints a former CEC as observer for e-voting process

Taruvai Subayya Krishnamurthy will be overseeing the e-voting process, with regard to winding up Franklin Templeton’s six mutual fund schemes, scheduled between 26-29 Dec

New Delhi: Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Saturday appointed Taruvai Subayya Krishnamurthy as ‘observer’ in e-voting of unit holders of six schemes of Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund.

Krishnamurthy is a former Chief Election Commissioner of India and will be overseeing the e-voting process, scheduled between 26-29 December. He served as 13th Chief Election Commissioner of India and his main assignment as CEC was to oversee the 2004 elections to the Lok Sabha.

"The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India vide its order dated December 09, 2020 has directed SEBI to appoint an Observer regarding the e-voting of unit holders of six schemes of Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund which is scheduled between 26th December to 29th December, 2020. Further the Hon’ble Supreme Court has also directed that the result of the e-voting would not be announced and would be produced before the Hon’ble Supreme Court in a sealed cover along with the report of the Observer appointed by the SEBI. Accordingly, SEBI has appointed Shri Taruvai Subayya Krishnamurthy, the former Chief Election Commissioner of India as the “Observer" on December 18, 2020," the markets regulator said in an official statement.

Recently, Chennai Financial Markets and Accountability (CFMA) had filed an application in the Supreme Court alleging that despite the apex court’s December 9 order, “no apparent steps" have been taken by the SEBI to appoint an observer for overseeing the e-voting process with regard to winding up Franklin Templeton’s six mutual fund schemes.

The top court had on December 9 asked the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to appoint an observer for overseeing the e-voting process.

SEBI has also constituted a technical assistance team comprising of the following that will assist the observer:

  • B.N Sahoo, Chief General Manager, Sebi
  • Nayana Ovalekar, Chief Operating Officer of CDSL
  • K. Sriram , Practising Company Secretary and Scrutiniser
  • M. Krishna and E Sai Prasad, Assistant Directors of Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Hyderabad.

The six schemes are Franklin India Low Duration Fund, Franklin India Ultra Short Bond Fund, Franklin India Short Term Income Plan, Franklin India Credit Risk Fund, Franklin India Dynamic Accrual Fund and Franklin India Income Opportunities Fund.

Franklin Templeton MF closed these six debt mutual fund schemes on April 23, citing redemption pressure and lack of liquidity in the bond market.

Till November 27, the six schemes received total cash flows of 11,576 crore from maturities, pre-payments and coupon payments since April 24, 2020.

The cash available stands at 7,226 crore as of November 27 for the four cash positive schemes, subject to fund running expenses.

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