SEBI wants powers to see phone call, e-mail records

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on August 15, 2011

A view of SEBI building in Mumbai.



Says this will help it block black money entering stock market

The Securities and Exchange Board of India has sought powers to seek e-mail and call records from telecom service providers.

This move, the market regulator hopes, will help it prevent black money entering the market as also keep an eye on insider trading.

The Minister of State for Finance, Mr Namo Narain Meena, told the Lok Sabha in a written reply on August 12 (unstarred question no 2091) that SEBI also wants to be in the list of law enforcement/investigating agencies that includes the CBI and the IB. A formal request has been sent to the Department of Telecommunications.

Though getting call records from the phone service providers may not be difficult, tracking e-mail records could be. Most e-mail service providers such as Google, Yahoo, Hotmail have their servers based outside India. Even security agencies have been trying to get access to these services in vain.

Sources told Business Line that by tracking e-mail and phone call records, SEBI can check ‘Circular Money', or money owned by Indians that is routed back to the country via tax havens to avoid paying taxes. It is feared that some of the funds coming into the markets via sub-accounts is ‘Circular Money'.

SEBI is keen to crack down more vigorously on the broker-operator-promoter nexus. The regulator had been denied phone-tapping rights on several occasions by the Government. Even in 2009, SEBI had pleaded for access to the call data record. But its requests were turned down.

Although it has good surveillance mechanisms, the market regulator feels that phone call data will be another useful weapon.

“Though some experts feel that the right to tap phones should be given, even phone call data will help a lot,” said a SEBI source.

SEBI sources maintained that going by experience, it is keeping its request simple. With the Government's thrust on curbing black money, SEBI hopes to get the permission this time.


Published on August 15, 2011
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