Market regulator Sebi today imposed a penalty of Rs 6 lakh on Dilip S Mehta, owner of a chartered accountancy firm, for failing to respond to summons issued by it in relation to a probe into the affairs of erstwhile Bank of Rajasthan. The matter pertains to alleged irregularities committed by former promoters of Bank of Rajasthan (BoR).

Imposing a “penalty of Rs 6 lakh”, Sebi in its order today said Mehta’s failure indicates that the default is repetitive in nature.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) had summoned Mehta to examine his link to Sangeeta Jayram Sawant, director of 30 companies that were connected to the promoters which were buying and selling shares of BoR.

It had issued two summons to Mehta. Both were received by him but did not comply with them.

The market regulator observed that the information sought from Mehta was critical and imperative to the investigation and failure on his part to comply with the summons had hampered the probe.

Sebi noted that the “information provided by the notice now is of no relevance and cannot be accepted as the same was required by the Investigating Authority before the completion of the investigation. Hence the submissions made by the noticee re not accepted”.

The matter relates to Sebi’s investigation into the affairs of BoR for a period between June 2007 and December 2009. Since then, BoR has been acquired by ICICI Bank.

The probe revealed that BoR’s then promoters, led by Pravin Kumar Tayal, along with some companies that were connected to him and his relatives, by way of their continuous disclosure publicly announced that their stake had come down from 44.2 per cent as on quarter ending June 2007 to 28.6 per cent as on quarter ending December 2009.

However, it was alleged, though as per disclosure their holding seemed to have reduced, but in reality the holding of the promoters actually increased with the active collusion of front entities.

Thus, the shareholding of the promoters of BoR with PACs (Person Acting in Concert) had increased from 46.8 per cent in June 2007 to 63.15 per cent in December 2009.

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