The government on Monday introduced the Securities Laws (Amendment) Bill 2013 in the Lok Sabha, aimed at empowering the Securities Exchange Board of India (Sebi) with the authority carry out search and seizure, attachment of properties, arrest and detention of defaulters and pass disgorgement directions to recover illegal gains.
The bill was introduced to replace an ordinance that the government had promulgated last month.
The bill seeks to amend the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992, the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1956 and the Depositories Act, 1996.
In addition, Sebi can seek information from other domestic and global regulators retrospectively — a move that will pave the way for gathering details of old cases, some of which have been pending for 15 years.
Individuals and firms, however, have been given the option to settle investigations with Sebi if such cases have been pending for more than six years.
Sebi can also access call records and crack down on ponzi schemes.
Until now, Sebi was allowed to carry out search and seizure operations only after securing judicial approval from the chief metropolitan magistrate.
Sebi can also break open the lockers and closets to get information from suspected entities.
The move would also help curb insider trading.