Cracking down on unauthorised investment advisory services operating under the name ‘Baap of Chart,’ the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Wednesday prohibited three entities from the securities market and directed the confiscation of illicit gains amounting to over Rs 17 crore.
The ‘minds’ behind the illegal activity
Mohammad Nasiruddin Ansari, who identified himself as an investment expert, issued stock recommendations under the alias ‘Baap of Chart’ via the social media platform X and the messaging app Telegram.
According to Sebi, the recommendations were given in the garb of providing educational training related to the securities market.
Further, the regulator directed Nasir, Padamati, Tabraiz Abdullah, Asif Iqbal Wani, Golden Syndicate Ventures, Mansha Abdullah and Jadav Vamshi to jointly and severally disgorge the Rs 17.21 crore collected from clients/ investors through unregistered investment advisory activities.
The markets watchdog also directed them to refrain from accessing as well as associating themselves with the securities markets for an appropriate period.
Besides Ansari, Padamati and Golden Syndicate Ventures have been barred from the securities markets until further orders. Sebi directed them to cease and desist from acting as or holding themselves out to be investment advisors, whether using ‘Baap of Chart’ or otherwise.
The crackdown story
The order came after Sebi analysed certain tweets on social media platforms X and Telegram, where Nasir was prima facie observed to be providing recommendations (buy/sell) through social media in the name of ‘Baap of Chart’ in the garb of providing educational training related to the securities market.
Thereafter, the regulator initiated the examination against Nasir in order to ascertain whether he was engaged in offering investment advisory services without having Sebi’s registration through social media/other means and thereby, flouting the regulatory norms. The examination period in the matter is from January 2021 to July 2023.
“I cannot ignore the risk that the said Noticees (Nasir, Padamati and Golden Syndicate) may divert the alleged unlawful gains before directions for disgorgement/refund, etc, if any, are passed. Further, I note that in his videos/ social media posts on ‘courses’ of Baap of Chart, Nasir repeatedly emphasises on providing access to live trading during his courses,” Sebi’s whole-time member Ananth Narayan G said in the order
Therefore, non-interference at this stage would result in irreparable injury to interests of the securities market and the investors, as per the order.
“I am convinced that the balance of convenience lies in passing interim directions against them for preventing the continuation of any further fraudulent or unregistered activities in the interest of investors, and for impounding and retaining such quantified alleged illegal gains,” Ananth Narayan G added such activities, the entities flouted the provisions of PFUTP (Prohibition of Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices) and Investment Adviser (IA) rules.
In its 45-page interim order cum show cause notice, Sebi found that Rs 17.21 crore has been accumulated during a period of just over two years from carrying out investment advisory activities, which are both unregistered and fraudulent.
In view of receipt of fees for ‘educational courses’ directly in their bank accounts prima facie, the regulator concluded that Nasir, Padamati and Golden Syndicate Ventures are jointly and severally liable for alleged unlawful gains as an interim measure.
(With PTI Inputs)