Suspecting foul play in the crashing of stock markets over the past few months, Sebi is probing at least 25 entities, including brokerage firms, FIIs and mutual funds.

The initial investigations have revealed the possibility of at least three ‘bear cartels’ operating in the stock market and Sebi has decided to seek inputs from the exchanges and various market entities on trading patterns of the affected stocks over past three months, sources said.

‘Bear cartel’ refers to a group of market manipulators working in concert to hammer down certain stocks, either to buy them at lower prices or at the behest of corporate rivals.

These cartels are suspected to have manipulated, in concert or separately, share prices of over 100 companies, including the blue-chips, over the past few months.

Most ‘victims’ are from mid-cap and small-cap segments.

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