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India: Sebi cracks down on illegal operators

The entities operated nine Telegram channels and were making recommendations to over five million subscribers



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File photo
by

A Staff Reporter

Published: Fri 11 Mar 2022, 5:14 PM

Last updated: Fri 11 Mar 2022, 5:15 PM

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has cracked down on operators who circulate ‘stock tips’ on social media to gullible investors and raided their offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar and Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh.

Its officials seized mobile phones, laptops and other gadgets that were used to manipulate stock prices. The entities operated nine Telegram channels and were making recommendations to over five million subscribers, recommending selected listed scrips.

“Such recommendations induced the investors to deal in the said scrips, thereby creating artificial volume and price rise,” said the regulator. “This provided opportunity to their linked entities to off-load their shares at higher prices and make significant profits at the cost of unsuspecting retail investors. The data, emails and other documents are being retrieved from the seized devices and a detailed investigation is in progress.”

The securities board was tipped off about the investment advice being made by operators and widely circulated on websites and social media platforms such as Telegram, Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram. Sebi has in the past too warned investors to be vigilant while making investment decisions based on stock tips.

Investors were induced to invest in or purchase stocks of some listed companies through bulk SMS sent to them. Sebi collaborated with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to reduce the vulnerability of investors by manipulators misusing mass communication. “However, the perpetrators of such frauds are now adopting new methods and technologies to defraud the investors,” warned the regulator.

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