Sebi to re-investigate alleged manipulative trades involving former TV anchor

Markets regulator Sebi on Friday disposed of a show cause notice issued to a former TV anchor and his family in February for alleged manipulative trades and decided to re–investigate the matter.

“Sebi shall endeavour to complete the investigation within six months… And thereafter, to conclude the matter expeditiously,” the order passed by Whole Time Member SK Mohanty said.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) observed a high correlation between the recommendations made by Hemant Ghai (noticee no 1) in the show ‘Stock 20-20’ that was being co-hosted by him on CNBC Awaaz, during the period January 2019 to May 2020, and the trades of his wife Jaya Hemant Ghai (noticee no 2) and his mother Shyam Mohini Ghai (noticee no 3) executed during the period.

Pursuant to a preliminary examination of the activities of the noticees, an interim order was passed in October 2020 in the matter wherein it was prima facie observed that the noticees were indulging in front running activities in the stocks that were being recommended by Hemant Ghai in the show during that period.

Collectively, Ghais are referred to as noticees.

Consequently, certain directions were issued against the three persons, including restraining them from securities market till further directions.

Later, a confirmatory order was passed in September 2021 in the matter, wherein the directions of the interim order were confirmed against the noticees. Sebi also noted that in compliance with direction issued under the interim order, Rs 2.95 crore have been deposited in an escrow account by them.

“Since all things having been considered, including the pattern of the impugned trades executed from the trading accounts of noticees no. 2 and 3 and the role of the TV shows hosted by noticee no. 1, based on which a re-investigation has been ordered in the matter, I find no reason to disturb the extant position at this stage,” Mohanty said.