SEBI on Tuesday issued an interim order against Brightcom Group (BGL), barring Chairman & CEO Suresh Kumar Reddy and CFO Narayan Raju from holding the position of a director or key managerial personnel in any listed company or its subsidiaries. Reddy is additionally barred from buying, selling or dealing in securities, either directly or indirectly.

The regulator has prohibited 23 noticees, including veteran investor Shankar Sharma, from disposing off shares of BGL held by them, directly or indirectly.

The regulator ordered BGL to ensure that its statutory auditors P Murali & Co and PCN & Associates, as well as their past and present partners, are not engaged with BGL or its subsidiaries until further orders.

Allotment irregularities

The matter pertains to irregularities in the preferential allotments by BGL during FY20-21 and 2021-22. BGL had issued warrants/ shares on a preferential basis on four occasions and raised ₹867.78 crore from 82 allottees.

According to SEBI, BGL had financed these preferential issues by round-tripping or circuitous movement of funds to certain allottees through its subsidiaries, promoter cum CMD and other conduit entities. BGL had submitted forged and fabricated bank account statements as documentary evidence to falsely portray the receipt of warrant and share application money from the allottees.

Sharma was allotted 1,50,00,000 warrants (subsequently converted into shares on March 9, 2022), with a face value of ₹2 each, at ₹37.70 per share during the financial year 2021-22, for a total consideration of ₹56.65 crore. However, SEBI findings show that BGL has only received ₹39.98 crore and has not received the entire share application money from Sharma.

In June, SEBI levied fines totalling ₹40 lakh on Brightcom Group and its promoters for flouting regulatory norms.

In April, the regulator issued an interim order-cum-show cause notice against Brightcom Group and its directors for an accounting fraud, involving manipulation of the company’s financial statements from the period 2014-15 to 2019-20.