India's Reliance Industries penalised for alleged fraud

NEW DELHI: India's markets regulator has barred Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries and 12 others from trading in equity derivatives for a year for allegedly fraudulent trades made 10 years ago.

The multibillion-dollar Reliance Industries rejected the ruling by the Securities and Exchange Board of India and said it would appeal the order.

In its ruling late Friday, the securities regulator said that the fraud is related to the 2007 sale of a 5 percent stake in subsidiary Reliance Petroleum when it was a separately listed company. The company used unlawful trade practices to profit from that sale, the ruling said.

The regulator said Reliance made about 5 billion rupees ($76 million) in profits from that and has asked it to give up nearly 4.5 billion rupees along with 12 percent interest within 45 days.

According to the Press Trust of India, SEBI official G. Mahalingam said that that he passed the order "in order to protect the interest of the investors" and make them trust the regulatory system.

"The noticees may, however, square off or close out their existing open positions," the order said.