The Securities Laws (Amendment) Bill 2014, aimed at giving more powers to market regulator Sebi to crack down on ponzi schemes, fly-by-night chit funds and other fraudulent investment schemes, was tabled in Lok Sabha on Monday.
The Bill gives more power to Sebi such as authority to seek information from any entity related to a probe, the power to set up special courts to ensure speedy trials and also seek call data records. An ordinance to empower Sebi to deal with ponzi schemes was promulgated thrice by the previous UPA government, but could not be enacted by Parliament.
The Bill was introduced by minister of state for finance Nirmala Sitharaman as, she said, finance minister Arun Jaitley was unwell and could not attend Parliament. Her clarification on Jaitley's absence came after some opposition members wanted to know why Jaitley was not present as the Bill was listed in his name.
“The Bill provides that any pooling of funds in any unregistered scheme or arrangement, having corpus of R100 crore or more, shall be deemed a collective investment scheme. The Bill provides for express powers for the settlement (compounding); establishing special courts; powers to recover amounts; and empower Board to enhance the penalty imposed by an adjudicating officer,” a government statement said on Monday.
Once the Bill becomes an Act, Sebi would have powers to call for information not only from the people or entities associated with the securities market but also from persons who are not directly associated with the securities market, the statement said.