The CBI has quizzed Chairman of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) U K Sinha in connection with granting of permission to Jignesh Shah-founded Financial Technologies (India) group for setting up MCX Stock Exchange.
Sinha was examined by a CBI team last evening in Mumbai during which he explained his reasons for granting licence to MCX-SX for operating as a full-fledged stock exchange, official sources said here today.
Efforts to reach Sinha failed as he had switched off his mobile number and there was no response on his office numbers.
The decision to quiz Sinha, as also former Sebi Chairman M Damodaran, was taken after examination of another former Sebi chief C B Bhave earlier this month, during which the agency sleuths were told that public interest was involved in grant of licence to MCX-SX to trade in currency derivatives. The approval for full-fledged stock exchange came during the tenure of Sinha, who took charge of the SEBI in February 2011. He got an extension of two years in February this year.
After getting a full-fledged licence, MCX-SX started trading in equity and derivatives. Now, the CBI is expected to examine Damodaran soon before the agency takes a final call on whether any criminality was made out from the Preliminary Enquiry (PE) registered more than two months back.
CBI Director Ranjit Sinha has made an effort to take a decision on every PE within three months.
MCX-SX had approached SEBI during Damodaran's tenure who cleared the file at a time when Income Tax searches were being conducted on Shah.
The former SEBI chief had, however, claimed that the report about Income Tax searches reached him later. Last week Bhave, a 1975 batch IAS officer from Maharashtra, was quizzed by the CBI during which he made it clear that there was no undue pecuniary benefit to Jignesh Shah entities as a result of this decision.
Bhave, another former member K M Abraham and Financial Technologies India Ltd (FTIL) and MCX-SX have been named in the PE.
Bhave has denied any quid pro quo as alleged by CBI for grant of permission to the bourse and said the agency wanted to understand the public interest involved in licence grant.
He became SEBI Chairman in February 2008 and his three-year term ended in February, 2011. Abraham's term as a whole-time member of Sebi also ended in 2011.