Goats as investment cash cows; Sebi smells foul play
Nov 06 2012 , New Delhi
Claiming to have large goat-rearing farms in northern parts of the country, Beetal Livestock & Farm (P) Ltd had solicited investments from the public with a promise of 2 per cent monthly returns, and doubling of money in 3-4 years.
Suspecting an unregistered Collective Investment Scheme (CIS) being run to milk investors, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) served show-cause notices to the company and its four directors, but were returned undelivered.
Consequently, Sebi has now issued a public notice asking the company and its four directors to collect the show-cause notices by November 10, failing which the regulator has warned to begin ex-parte proceedings against them.
Sebi regulates CIS, which involves pooling in of money from multiple investors for a specific objective.
The company, which was not registered as CIS entity with Sebi, had solicited investments in the goat-rearing business through newspaper advertisements a couple of years ago.
The business model involved paying a few thousands of rupees to become owner of a goat, to be reared by Beetal.
Investors were told that as each goat gives birth to four kids a year, the new goats would be sold to other investors -- giving up to four-fold appreciation in the first year itself. The investments could give manifold returns in subsequent years, said Beetal, with each of the four new goats giving birth to 3-4 kids the following years.
Suspecting a typical ponzi scheme in the name of goat farming, Sebi began enquiry into the matter following several complaints received by it.
However, the show-cause notices served by Sebi to the company and is directors remained undelivered, giving rise to suspicion that the persons involved with the scheme might have fled away.
"SCN (Show-Cause Notice) dated May 10, 2012 and reminder dated June 21, 2012 issued to the noticees through speed post returned undelivered and/or were not responded to," Sebi said in a public notice dated November 1.
It further warned that Sebi would proceed ex-parte on the basis of available records, if the company and its directors do not collect their show-cause notices within 10 days.
Sebi has recently asked the government to come out with a separate set of norms and an independent regulator for collective investment schemes, as loopholes in existing regulations lead to many unscrupulous entities defrauding gullible investors and going scot-free.