Market regulator Sebi has set a one-year target to complete investigations, saying that the long-drawn probe processes are a thing of past and manipulators can't escape the long arm of the law.
The impression about market manipulators remaining scot-free or the enforcement actions getting delayed for years are all matters of the past, Sebi (Securities and Exchange Board of India) chairman UK Sinha told PTI in an interview.
"There may have been some cases in the past, but right now we are reasonably current. I will not say that we are current to the level of a few months, but we are very current on our investigations.
"Our target is that going forward there will not be any matter where we will keep any case pending for beyond a year. That is the target I am giving to our people and we are moving towards that. I am hundred per cent sure that we will be able to achieve that target," Sinha said.
He added, "So, the impression that the investigations have got delayed for years together in the past, that will not happen now. From the system that was there earlier and the system and processes we have got right now, there is a world of a difference."
Sinha also warned market manipulators of strong action.
He said the regulator will always keep an upper edge over them with a robust surveillance system and safeguard mechanism for the markets and the investors.
Asked about the steps being taken to safeguard against manipulators who manage to find the loopholes, Sinha said: "But, it is also said, 'Kanoon ke haath bahut lambe hote hain', that the law catches them finally with its long arms.
"How far the manipulators can run?"
Sinha observed however that Sebi needs to remain continuously vigilant and improve systems each passing day.
"It is a continuous exercise for us at Sebi to keep on improvising our systems and this is exactly what we are doing," he said.
"The people we are dealing with, they are also very smart and they are very resourceful. They can always try to improve their system compared to ours. Therefore, we will always keep improving our system and keep our upper edge over these people," Sinha said.
He further said that Sebi is providing ample training opportunities to its investigating and adjudicating officers.
"They have been provided training at best places in the country, and in some cases, they have been provided training outside India. So, now they are better prepared to handle the cases," Sinha said.
Detailing the changes in various systems and processes to deal with the cases of various manipulative activities, Sebi chief said: "When I say with such an emphasis that such things will not happen, you may ask how am I so sure.
"I am sure about this because we are making changes in our systems. One of this is in our surveillance system."
Sinha further said that one of the issues that used to cause lot of delay was Sebi's consent mechanism.
"We have made changes in this system as well, making it very transparent in terms of making it very clear that what the cases are where we can go for consent mechanism.
"Then we are also going for improving the enforceability of our orders. So, the success rate of our orders with the appellate has gone up and it is improving year by year. Thirdly, we are working on the quality of our orders. We are making our orders very well written and well argued," he said.