AS the preliminary enquiry by the CBI against CB Bhave, former chief of Sebi, gets underway, the closure report of a probe initiated earlier by the income tax department against Bhave is still awaited. Bhave had sent reminders to the tax department, which has gone unanswered.
When The Indian Express asked Bhave on the status of the probe, he said that he did not have any update on it. “I had asked them (in writing) about their decision on the case but they did not respond,” said Bhave.
Bhave was not the only Sebi official to have faced an income tax enquiry. KM Abraham and MS Sahoo, both whole-time members until 2011, came under the department’s scrutiny after it received complaints that they bought a flat in Kurla, Mumbai, at discounted prices. The CBI has also named Abraham in the preliminary enquiry along with Bhave.
A source close to the development told that even in their cases the income tax department has not moved further after sending notices, meeting them and having sought information from them in 2011. “I believe that the case has been closed as the income tax department did not go back to them,” said the source who did not wish to be identified.
The CBI has registered a preliminary enquiry against Bhave and Abraham, for alleged irregularities in granting sanction to the MCX Stock Exchange (MCX-SX) by the regulator in 2008 and for renewing the recognition in 2009 and 2010. The enquiry registered against Bhave and others will probe as to how MCX-SX was granted permission despite opposition by Sebi during Bhave’s term.
The income tax department had in 2011, after Bhave stepped down from office, asked him to provide details of his tax returns for the period prior to his appointment as the Sebi chief. This came after Bhave was denied an extension. His tenure ended in February 2011, even though a two-year extension was initially approved.
The last year of Bhave’s term as Sebi chairman was quite eventful. In 2010, under his leadership Sebi challenged the authority of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda) over the unit-linked insurance plans and the matter was finally resolved by the government which passed a legislation giving the authority to the insurance regulator.
While the Satyam case came up to the fore during Bhave’s term, the Sahara case was also taken up under his leadership. Sebi also declined MCX-SX proposal to set up a stock exchange during his tenure.
In 2011, when the I-T department moved against the two whole-time directors, Abraham had written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accusing the income tax department of harassing him and Sahoo.