The National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL) scam is a serious issue as it affected several persons, the Bombay High Court observed today, even as a demand was made for a probe into the beleaguered bourse's alleged malpractice in settlements procedures.
The CBI, meanwhile, gave indications that it might close its inquiry into alleged irregularities and duping of customers by NSEL, which is at the centre of a Rs 5,600-crore payout scam, to avoid multiplicity of investigations.
The Bombay High Court made the observation on the scam while directing the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Finance Ministry and Forward Market Commission (FMC) to file their affidavits in reply to a PIL seeking CBI probe in it.
The PIL, filed by Kirit Somaiya, president of the Investors Grievances Forum and former BJP MP, sought a direction from the Court for a probe by CBI or any other agency into the alleged refusal to pay dues to 17,000 small investors by NSEL resulting in the scam.
The court had on the last hearing directed all the respondents including Central Board of Direct Taxes, NSEL and its promoter Jignesh Shah to file their reply affidavits.
However, today when the matter came up before a division bench headed by Justice S J Vazifdar, the respondents sought more time to file their affidavits.
Irked by this, the court said the matter was a serious issue affecting several persons and directed the affidavits to be filed by October 21. It said this was the last chance granted to the respondents and no further time would be given.
Lotus Refineries, which has filed a claim suit worth Rs 2,773.29 crore against NSEL in Bombay High Court, today said it has demanded a probe into the settlements procedure of NSEL stating that it had not received Rs 1,704 crore--which were shown as paid on the records by the spot exchange.
Making public the transaction details with NSEL, Lotus Refineries accused the spot exchange of faking the Real Time Gross Settlement Systems (RTGS) details, it said in a statement in Mumbai. NSEL officials were not available for comment.
The bank statement details of Lotus Refineries shows that while NSEL claimed that money was transferred in Lotus Refineries accounts, it was never credited, the release said.
"We demand a stringent probe into the malpractice; we suspect that the amount might have been used for money laundering," a Lotus Refineries spokesperson said.
In Delhi, highly placed CBI sources said the agency might close the ongoing inquiry as it would lead to multiplicity of investigations. They said Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai Police has the professional expertise and is competent enough to investigate the case.
CBI had received complaints from several investors who lost their money with the spot exchange promoted by Jignesh Shah-led Financial Technologies. PTI SP ABS AP GSN GSN 10101823 NNNN