The National Spot Exchange’s (NSEL) move to pay off small investors with exposure of less than Rs 10 lakh on a priority basis has come in for severe criticism from investors who were protesting against the promoters outside Financial Technologies’ (FTIL) office in suburban Mumbai on Wednesday.

Aggrieved investors under the NSEL Investors Forum felt the exchange was trying to split the unity and reduce the strength of affected people by making payments at its discretion.

Sharad Kumar Saraf, Chairman of the Forum, said investors would intensify protest across the nation and would not rest till the settlement was done in full. On the delay in filing a police complaint and moving the court against the promoters, he said that would be a time-consuming affair, and defeat the forum’s intention of recovering the dues at the earliest.

However, he said that option was also being kept open.

The forum feels the transfer of the case to the Finance Ministry will have a positive impact as it has better links with the investigative agencies compared to the Consumer Affairs Ministry, said Saraf.

There was a mild commotion when the protesters tried to break the police barricade and enter Financial Technologies’ premises. However, it was foiled by the police.

Urging the Government to replicate the solution arrived at the Satyam scam, Saraf said the exchange should be merged with FTIL.

“Foreign institutional investors’ faith in Indian exchanges will be shaken, if this issue is not settled at the earliest, ” he said.

Expressing surprise at NSEL Chairman Shankarlal Guru’s statement that he had no knowledge of his son-in-law walking away with Rs 950 crore, Saraf alleged that it reveals the complicity in the fraud.

“By resigning from Chairmanship, he (Guru’s) cannot deny his involvement. A Chairman cannot be an innocent bystander when a fraud of Rs 5,500 crore is being committed and almost 20 per cent has gone to his son-in-law,” he said.

(This article was published on August 28, 2013)
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