SEBI bans former business TV anchor, imposes Rs 1 crore penalty on him; 8 others also barred from trading for 5 years

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], June 12 (ANI): The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has banned a former anchor of a business news channel and eight other individuals and entities for engaging in fraudulent trading practices on his show.

The regulator imposed a penalty of Rs one crore each on the ex-anchor Pradeep Pandya and one Alpesh Vasanji Furiya, a technical analyst and fined the remaining six entities Rs 10 lakh each.

The regulator has directed the penalties to be paid within the next 45 days.

Pandya, Furiya and seven others were penalized for engaging in fraudulent trading practices through the show ‘Pandya ka Funda’ on the business channel.

The other six entities who are banned from trading are Alpesh Furiya (HUF), Alpa Furiya, Manish Furiya, Manish Furiya (HUF), Mahan Investment, and Toshee Trade, all of whom are also fined of Rs 10 lakh each.

The market regulator has also asked the entities to return Rs 10.83 crore of unlawful gains, which the entities including Alpesh Furia and Pradeep Pandya have made through fraudulent tradings. Of this Rs 8.39 crore have already been deposited by them against SEBI’s interim order of Oct 2021. So the entity will now have to pay Rs 2.44 crore along with 12 per cent interest to the regulator.

SEBI in its final order stated, “A high correlation was noted between the stock recommendations given by him (Pradeep Pandya) on the show ‘Pandya Ka Funda’ and the Buy-Today-Sell-Tomorrow trades (“BTST”) and intra-day trades executed by Alpesh Vasanji Furiya (“Alpesh Furiya”) and connected entities during the period November 1, 2019 to January 13, 2021.”

SEBI noted, “Furiya, capitalizing on this privileged information, executed trades through his own accounts and those of related entities, positioning himself to profit before the recommendations were publicly aired.”

Pradeep Pandya was the host and co-host of various shows at till 2021. Alpesh Furia appeared on the channel as a guest analyst and gave stock recommendations on the channel and also through social media.

The investigation uncovered crucial evidence from WhatsApp chats exchanged between Pandya and Alpesh Furiya. These chats, backed up by Pandya, contained discussions on stock recommendations and trading strategies. The content of these chats played a significant role in substantiating allegations of information sharing regarding upcoming recommendations between the two individuals.

SEBI highlights that financial journalists, including anchors on business news channels, play an important role in the financial markets by acting as trusted disseminators of market information to the public. Their insights, analyses, and recommendations are often taken at face value by a broad audience of investors who rely on this information to make investment decisions.

The authority in order emphasized that when journalists engage in sharing material non-public information, as noted in this case, it not only breaches ethical standards but also distorts market dynamics.