SAT dismisses individual's plea against Sebi order

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The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has dismissed the plea of Madanchand Prasan Chand Chordia against a Sebi order imposing Rs 10 lakh penalty on him for not making shareholding disclosures.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), in March 2014, had slapped a fine on Chordia for not making disclosures on two occasions -- March 4, 2013 and June 28, 2013 -- regarding acquisition of shares of Raj Packaging Industries Limited (RPIL).

Chordia had acquired shares to the tune of 2.2 per cent and 2.8 per cent on March 4, 2013 and June 28, 2013, respectively and not made disclosures regarding the same.

Consequently, he went to SAT against the Sebi order, saying he was not aware of the requirement to make necessary disclosures, being a mere investor in RPIL.

He had, however informed the company in February 2013 about the acquisition of shares with a request to inform the stock exchange.

The company, however, did not do it and rather provided him with a wrong format in which disclosure was to be made by him regarding the acquisition of every two per cent of the paid-up capital of RPIL, he said.

In an order dated June 16, SAT said: "... Ignorance of law is not an excuse. It seems to be an afterthought in as much as the appellant (Chordia) had undergone inquiry before Sebi for similar type of violation in the recent past when he had increased his shareholding to the tune of 5.6 per cent of the total shares of RPIL on September 5, 2012."

It is therefore evident that appellant was aware about the requirement of law as regards disclosures on acquiring two per cent or more shares of the company, it added.

"It is thus clearly a case of repetitive violation of law for which no leniency can be shown even in the matter of quantum of penalty," SAT said and dismissed the appeal of Chordia.

In a separate order, SAT has asked Sebi to pass a fresh order in the matter of Harish Sureka.

Sebi, on December 31, 2013, had imposed a penalty of Rs 10 lakh on Sureka for violating securities norm.

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