Sebi bars 20 entities for conducting fraudulent trading in Pyramid Saimira

regulator on Tuesday restrained 20 entities from accessing for conducting fraudulent trading in the scrip of Pyramid Saimira Theatre, thereby violating market norms.

The regulator has also directed two entities to disgorge unlawful gains of over Rs 21 lakh, made while dealing in the scrip of the firm.

found that as per media reports published in December 2008, the regulator had directed one of the promoters of Pyramid Saimira Theatre, P S Saminathan, to make an open offer for an additional 20 per cent stake at a price of at least Rs 250.

This led to an increase in the share price of Pyramid on December 22, 2008.

However, the company told exchanges that it had not received any communication from

The next day Saminathan told exchanges that he had received the alleged letter from the regulator. But Sebi, through a press release, clarified that no such letter was issued by it.

Sebi also lodged an FIR with regard to forgery of Sebi letter.

Later, the investigations by Sebi, prima facie, revealed that forgery was done to manipulate the stock price of the firm, and that Nirmal Kotecha, one of the promoters and the then largest shareholder, was one of the major beneficiaries of the manipulation and appeared to have masterminded the forgery.

It was further observed that several entities directly and indirectly related to Kotecha had bought and sold the shares on exchanges.

The entities entered into circular trades, synchronized trades, reversal trades and self trades, primarily among themselves in order to manipulate the price of Pyramid shares to facilitate Kotecha to offload his stake in the firm at higher prices.

The entities were thus found to have violated Prohibition of Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices norms.

Sebi had also passed interim orders and confirmatory orders against some entities in this regard.

Passing final orders, Sebi directed Maheshbhai Himatlal Sheth to disgorge unlawful gain of Rs 1,84,200 along with an interest rate of 12 per cent from December 22, 2008 till the date of payment, and also barred him from for one year.

Besides, Deepak Thakkar has also been directed to disgorge over Rs 20.75 lakh with 12 per cent interest.

The two individuals have been barred from the for 12 years, but the period of debarment already undergone by them will be set off.

17 other entities have been restrained from accessing the securities market for two years each.

In addition, Rajesh Unnikrishnan and Dharmesh Shah have been debarred from the securities market for one year each.

Unnikrishnan had colluded with Kotecha and Rakesh Sharma in disseminating the forged letter and misleading the reporters and correspondents of media houses by circulating a wrong number of the compliance officer of Pyramid.

Shah impersonated the compliance officer and company secretary of Pyramid.

Sharma has already gone through 10 years of debarment, Sebi noted, and thus revoked interim directions passed against him in April 2009.