The 16-month-old United Commodity Exchange (UCX) faces an uncertain future with all its employees quitting and its promoter “siphoning off” the corpus.
Sources said about 75 employees have quit on instructions from the senior management and are serving their notice period, which ends on August 31.
“We found during our audit of the exchange in June that the corpus has been siphoned off and asked the exchange to conduct a forensic audit. We found many other irregularities too,” said Ramesh Abhishek, Chairman of the Forward Markets Commission, which supervises the functioning of commodity exchanges in the country.
The exchange, launched in April 2013, suspended trading on July 19. If it shuts down, it will be the second commodity bourse to do so this year after India Commodity Exchange Ltd closed in January.
Currently, NCDEX, MCX, NMCE and ACE derivatives are the commodity exchanges that are active in the country. Sources alleged that Ketan Sheth, the promoter, had siphoned off all the funds, totalling over ₹50 crore.
Calls made to Sheth were unanswered.
Government agencies such as the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (16 per cent), IFFCO (15 per cent), IDBI Bank (10 per cent) and Rural Electrification Corporation (16 per cent) hold significant stakes in UCX.
A UCX official said Sheth had invested the money in the corpus on other assets to get better returns. He has now been asked by the board of directors to bring it back.
Employees unpaid At one time, the exchange had over 100 employees. Sources said that employees are yet to get their salary for July.
“We have initiated only cost-cutting measures and have not asked anyone to resign. Tuesday is the due date for paying the July salary and we are in the process,” said the UCX official, requesting anonymity.
Until 8 pm, no employee had received any payment.
A Forward Markets Commission official said UCX has been been struggling to improve its trading volumes for some time. “We won’t be surprised if it is shut,” the official said.
Sources said there were no open positions on the exchange when trading was suspended on July 19.
According to FMC data, UCX’s trading volume in the first fortnight of July totalled ₹74.13 crore.
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