Tightening its noose on the companies that failed to resolve investors' complaints, market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has slapped penalties totalling more than Rs 21 lakh since the beginning of the current fiscal.
According to the latest information available with the Sebi, the regulator has imposed a total penalty of Rs 21.35 lakh so far in 2012-13. These penalties have been imposed on seven companies for failure to resolve investor grievances.
Last fiscal, five companies were penalised by Sebi for such offences, while three were put in the dock the year before.
The total penalty imposed in 2011-12 was higher at Rs 53.30 lakh and Rs 43 lakh in 2010-11. The total penalty in 2010-11 had declined by Rs 10 lakh after the Securities Appellate Tribunal lowered the penalty on one company, Kaleidoscope Films Ltd (formerly known as Gujarat Investment Castings Ltd) from Rs 17 lakh to Rs 7 lakh.
Sebi said it imposed these monetary penalties against the companies “through adjudication proceedings for their failure to redress investor grievances”.
This month, the regulator imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh on Earnest Healthcare. Earlier, Sebi had imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on Gujarat Filaments and and Rs 10,000 on Gujarat Aqua Industries.
Earlier this fiscal, Sebi had slapped a penalty of Rs 75,000 on Raj Irrigation Pipes & Fittings, Rs 2 lakh on Satguru Agro Industries and Jord Engineers India each, and Rs 1.5 lakh on Simco Industries.
Additionally, in the first five months of the current fiscal, Sebi had barred four companies — Shukla Data Technics, Top Telemedia, International Hometex and Alpine Industries and their respective directors from accessing the securities market for not resolving investor grievances.
The regulator restrained these four companies and their directors “from accessing the securities market and from buying, selling or dealing in securities directly or indirectly, in whatsoever manner, till all the investors' grievances against the company are resolved by them”.
In August, Sebi had asked all listed companies to register themselves with its online complaint redressal system -- SCORES -- by September 14, after which they would be required to resolve all grievances within 30 days of receipt.
In case, a company was unable to initiate action for redressal of investor grievances within seven days of receipt in SCORES, the regulator could take necessary enforcement actions.
Sebi had launched this online system for handling investor grievances in June 2011.