Gujarat polls: Rahul fires ‘corruption’ salvo at Modi over SEBI’s penalty order against Rupani

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New Delhi, Nov 10: Just a few weeks before the Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017, the opposition Congress got fresh ammunition to target the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) imposed penalties on 22 entities, including Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani's Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), for "manipulative trading".

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his commitment to fight against corruption.

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Rahul tweeted in Hindi, "Na Khaoonga, na khane doonga ki kahani; Shah-zada, Shaurya aur ab Vijay Rupani (the tale of not allowing corruption; Shah-zada, Shaurya and now Vijay Rupani)," Gandhi tweeted.

Rahul was referring to Modi's promise of not allowing corruption under his watch. Referring to allegations against BJP chief Amit Shah's son Jay Shah and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval's son Shaurya Doval, Rahul said the case involving Rupani's entity belonged to the series of irregularities. Both Jay and Shaurya have denied the allegations against them.

In fact, the Congress on Thursday demanded removal of Gujarat CM over the SEBI slapping fine on his firm for alleged manipulative share trade.

Gujarat is going to poll in two phases on December 9 and December 14.

Another Congress leader, Akhilesh Pratap Singh, accused Modi of being tight-lipped on the issue involving Rupani. He asked the PM to come clear whether the BJP would face the coming Gujarat Assembly polls under a CM fined by the capital market regulator.

Speaking to reporters, Singh said, "The people who talk about zero tolerance against corruption should show zero tolerance in this case. We demand Rupani's resignation. If he doesn't, the PM should sack him."

According to media reports, the SEBI charged 22 entities, including Rupani's Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), for "manipulative trade" in a little-known company, Saran Chemicals. The HUF has been asked to cough up Rs 15 lakh.

The Securities Appellate Tribunal's (SAT) order published on its website on Thursday, however, said that the SEBI will pass a fresh order in the case of alleged manipulative share trade involving Rupani's HUF and 21 others.

In its order, the SAT said "SEBI shall pass fresh order after giving an opportunity of hearing to all the parties".

The tribunal has "set aside" the penalty order, dated October 27, after hearing an appeal filed by Akash Harishbhai Desai, one of the 22 entities penalised by the regulator for alleged manipulative trading in the shares of Saran Chemicals Limited during the January-June 2011 period.

Rupani, too, on Thursday defended himself against the charge of manipulative trading and asserted that the SEBI order had been overruled by the appellate tribunal and he had committed no financial irregularities.

Soon after the SAT order was made public, Rupani tweeted, "After six years one officer of SEBI passed an order against 22 persons imposing penalty without even hearing anyone, including Vijay Rupani HUF".

"In 2011, the share broker of Vijay Rupani HUF had carried out only one transaction which is a minuscule part of the total transactions done by several unconnected entities," he said in another tweet.

He also posted a copy of the SAT order on his Twitter page and said one such person against whom the ex parte order was passed approached the tribunal by filing an appeal.

"Having found that none of the persons against whom the SEBI officer has passed an order was even heard, the tribunal has quashed and set aside the said order," he tweeted.

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