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Fraudulent trades: Sebi bars television channel anchor, five others from securities market

Passing an interim order, the regulator also directed impounding Rs 8.4 crore-worth proceeds from the fraudulent trades.

SEBI, Stock Market, CNBC Awaaz, Pradeep Pandya, stock trading, Alpesh Vasanji Furiya, Indian Express, Indian Express news, India news

Sebi on Monday barred Pradeep Pandya, who was anchoring stock market shows on a television channel, three other individuals and two entities from the securities market for indulging in fraudulent trading activities.

Passing an interim order, the regulator also directed impounding Rs 8.4 crore-worth proceeds from the fraudulent trades.

CNBC Awaaz anchor Pradeep Pandya, Alpesh Furiya, Manish Furiya, Alpa Furiya, Alpesh Vasanji Furiya HUF and Manish V Furiya HUF have been restrained from buying, selling or dealing in securities till further orders.

Pradeep Pandya and Alpesh Furiya have also been directed to “cease and desist” from undertaking, directly or indirectly, any activity related to giving investment advice, sell or buy recommendations, publishing of research reports related to the securities market through any media till further directions.

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Earlier also, Sebi had passed an order against an anchor in CNBC Awaaz. Sources said Sebi is monitoring recommendations made on various other business channels as well, and appropriate actions would be taken if any wrongdoing is established.

In the order, Sebi said it has been prima facie determined that Alpesh Furiya and the connected entities have employed a scheme to conduct fraudulent/unfair trading based on the advance information of material unpublished information.

Pradeep Pandya was the host/co-host of various shows at CNBC Awaaz till August 2021, while Alpesh Vasanji Furiya appeared on the television channel as a guest/external expert and gave stock recommendations on his Twitter handle.

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Sebi noted that the broad modus operandi was to execute trades, both BTST (Buy Today Sell Tomorrow) and intra-day while prima facie, taking unfair advantage of having unpublished information.

In December 2020, the National Stock Exchange had forwarded a report wherein it had analysed the trading activities of Alpesh Furiya and related entities.

It was found that prima facie there was a strong correlation between their trades and the recommendations provided by Pradeep Pandya on his show Pandya Ka Funda on CNBC Awaaz. Sebi carried out the further analysis in the matter between November 2020 and January 2021.

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The regulator analysed call data records of Pradeep Pandya and Alpesh Furiya and noted that Pandya is uniquely placed to have access, in advance, to the information pertaining to the recommendations.

Pradeep Pandya communicated the information to Alpesh Furiya and connected entities, who in turn a repeated and consistent pattern of trading, in synchronisation with the recommendations made by Pradeep Pandya on his show, according to Sebi.

“CNBC Awaaz is advised to preserve and maintain all records, documents, material, video records, etc., along with their content, related to Pradeep Pandya and Alpesh Furiya and concerned shows till the investigation of SEBI is complete,” the regulator said.

In another matter earlier, Sebi had passed directions against former CNBC Awaaz anchor Hemant Ghai, his wife and mother for indulging in fraudulent trading practices.

UPDATE: “The Network18 Group, of which CNBC Awaaz is a part, has a detailed code for dealing in securities by employees with access to price-sensitive information. The code forbids short-term trading and speculation. It mandates that such employees own securities for at least six months and lays down detailed guidelines for disclosure of holdings. Mr Pandya resigned from our organisation in August. His actions, as detailed in the SEBI order, would constitute a clear violation of our code as well as Network18’s ethical standards. We will continue to provide all possible assistance to SEBI authorities,” a statement said.

First published on: 04-10-2021 at 19:56 IST
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