Sebi gets new powers to launch crackdowns against fraudsters

Jan 10 2014, 20:50 IST
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Sebi notified new norms empowering its Chairman to order search and seizure operations during investigations (Reuters) Sebi notified new norms empowering its Chairman to order search and seizure operations during investigations (Reuters)
SummaryNew Sebi powers aimed at making Sebi more effective in protecting investor interest...

entry of the office is at daytime.

For vessel, vehicle, aircraft or place other than the dwelling place, the search can be initiated and continued at any time, while search at dwelling places would need to be initiated, resumed and completed in daytime, unless authorised to the contrary.

As per the new rules, an authorised officer would need to call upon two or more "independent and respectable" inhabitants of the locality in which the place to be searched is situated.

They can call people from any other locality if no such inhabitant of the said locality is available or is willing to be a witness to the search.

However, no witness to the search can be compelled to be part of any quasi-judicial proceeding under securities laws.

According to the norms if the place to be searched is "an apartment in actual occupancy of a woman, who according to custom does not appear in public", the authorised officer would have to give notice before search to such a woman.

"She is at liberty to withdraw and (they) shall afford her every reasonable facility for withdrawing and may then break open any outer or inner door or window of the apartment and enter it," the regulations said.

In regard to the rights of the persons being searched, the norms state that the occupant of the place being searched can see the warrant and obtain a copy of it, can verify the identity of the authorised officer and officials assisting him, to be present during the search and seizure operation and to have copy of document(s) seized or take extracts therefrom.

Such an occupant would also have rights to have a copy of any statement recorded during search and seizure and to put his own mark of identification on the document seized on recording the description of such mark of identification.

The authorised officer may seek services of any police officer or of any officer of the Central Government, or State Government or both, to assist him in execution of warrant.

According to the new norms, the market regulator could seize documents including drawings and paintings, videotapes and computerised material, among others.

Further, as per the guidelines, if ingress into building or place required to be searched cannot be obtained or no one is present at the property, an authorised officer has the right to break open into the building. Similar procedure could be applied to search of vessel, vehicle or

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