Shares of Eros International Media Ltd fell sharply by nearly 20 per cent on Friday after SEBI barred the media and entertainment firm, its promoters, MD Sunil Arjan Lulla and CEO Pradeep Kumar Dwivedi from the securities markets in a case pertaining to the possible diversion of funds.

The stock tumbled 19.96 per cent to ₹21.08 on the BSE.

At the NSE, shares of the company plunged 19.92 per cent to ₹21.10 apiece after a weak opening.

In addition, Lulla and Dwivedi have been prohibited from holding the position of a director or key managerial personnel in any listed company, including Eros International or its subsidiaries until further orders, according to SEBI’s interim order on Thursday.

Apart from Eros International and its two senior executives, two promoter entities Eros Worldwide FZ LLC and Eros Digital Private Ltd, have also been restrained by the markets regulator.

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Further, the regulator has directed BSE to appoint a forensic auditor to examine the books of accounts of three BSE-listed companies -- Thinkink Picturez Ltd, Mediaone Global Entertainment Ltd, and Spicy Entertainment and Media Ltd -- who prima facie acted as conduits in the alleged diversion of funds by Eros.

The forensic auditor will submit the report to the exchange within three months.

In its 53-page order, SEBI, prima facie, found that the books of accounts of the company have been overstated and do not present a true and fair picture of its financial health.

"The transactions between the 'content advance entities' and the 'trade receivable entities', raise the possibility that Eros International was circulating funds whereby amounts transferred as content advances were subsequently recognized as revenue by routing it through trade receivables entities," SEBI said.