Sebi will soon be able to access call data records of people who are being probed for capital market malpractices. Access to such records is expected to add a lot of firepower to its investigation capabilities.
This will be welcome news for the Sebi brass, which has been seeking such access for long. There have been instances where Sebi used call records to nail culprits and, so, it has been demanding such powers on a regular basis.
According to PTI, finance minister P Chidambaram has said that the government is making an arrangement for Sebi getting access to call data records of people being probed by it in specific cases, but it will not get power to directly tap phone calls.
“...some arrangement is being made that call data records will be supplied through the agencies entitled to get them to Sebi,” Chidambaram told PTI in an interview. “They (Sebi) won't have the power to directly tap into the phone calls. Records can be made available to them by the authorities concerned. Some progress is being made,” he said.
He was replying to queries about Sebi seeking access to call data records of people it investigates in cases related to stock markets. Meanwhile, asked about intelligence reports of some terror groups pumping money into the stock market, Chidambaram said the matter falls under the jurisdiction of the home ministry: “I can't conduct an enquiry into terror groups putting money into the stock market. If tainted money is flowing into the stock market, I'm sure Sebi will look into it. Intelligence reports are shared with SEBI also. I've no machinery to look into it, except Sebi.”
Interestingly, on August 12, 2011, the then minister of state, finance, Namo Narain Meena had informed the Lok Sabha, in a written reply: “Sebi had requested to include it in the list of law enforcement/ investigating agencies maintained by the Department of Telecommunications for facilitating receipt of e-mails and call data records from the service providers.”