Choksi may be probed by regulator for land deal
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) might initiate a probe against Mehul Choksi to find out if he disclosed his Raigad property application details in his stock market filings at the time. The fugitive jeweller’s murky land deals in the district have been exposed by TOI over the last few days.
In August 2018, Antigua and Barbuda had blamed Indian authorities, including market regulator Sebi and the CBI, for not raising a red flag on Choksi when he applied for Antiguan citizenship in 2017; India then debunked the Caribbean nation’s claim and asked it to extradite him on the principles of “reciprocity and dual criminality”.
As CMD of Gitanjali Gems Ltd (GGL), Choksi applied to buy land in Raigad purportedly for an SEZ under his firm, but eventually bought it under his own and his associates’ names. The land was approved for sale by the development commissioner (industries) in March 2008 for a GGL SEZ.
“It is mandatory for directors of listed companies to… obtain shareholders’ approval through voting to allow… purchase of land for their promoted company,” said Shriram Subramanian, MD of the corporate governance firm Ingovern Proxy Advisory. “(Such deals) should feature in the annual report and stock market filing of a listed company.”
Ramesh Nair, CEO & country head (India) of the real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle, said, “(A) related-party transaction… must be disclosed.”
A SEBI official said the regulator would look into the matter of compliance.
SEBI could check if the fugitive declared SEZ land applied for under firm’s name in stock filings