The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has barred Shukul Wealth Advisory, along with Shukul Wealth Creator LLP and their associate partners, for carrying out activities of a mutual fund without registration with the market regulator.
The regulator has also directed ICICI Bank to freeze the bank accounts of both the firms and not to permit any debits or withdrawals, along with not allowing credits to the accounts, till further orders, without the SEBI’s permission.
Surat-based Shukul Wealth Advisory (SWA) is a partnership firm with partners Pradip Shukla and Dhananjay Barad and Shukul Wealth Creator LLP (SWCL) is a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) firm with designated partners Shukla and Sandeepkumar Patel.
The capital market regulator said that both the companies, along with the partners, have been directed “to cease and desist from sponsoring and carrying out activities of a mutual fund, including the activity of representing through any media (physical or digital) schemes for collection of funds, directly or indirectly, and cease to solicit or undertake such activity or any other activities in the securities market, directly or indirectly, in any manner whatsoever”.
They have also been restricted from holding themselves as investment advisors.
“With the initiation of quasi-judicial proceedings, given the fact that SWA, SWCL and their respective partners have already evaded the jurisdiction of SEBI, it is possible that SWA, SWCL and their respective partners may divert the funds collected from the subscribers/clients,” said the interim order.
SEBI inititiated a probe after received a complaint alleging that, the Shukul Wealth Advisory is working with chain marketing methodology and promising daily return to investors through ‘dailygetplan.com’ and is collecting crores of rupees without any permission from the SEBI, the AMFI, the RBI or any other regulator.
The regulator noted that around Rs 102 crore have been collected so far, however, prima facie, this amount does not appear to be the entire amount collected by these entities.
“It is observed that the, prima facie, act of sponsoring and/or carrying out activities of an unregistered mutual fund, as being carried out in the instant case, is falling within the ambit of Section 3 of the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Act, 2019,” it said.
SEBI said that a copy of the order shall also be forwarded to the Gujarat government for information and consideration of appropriate action such as restitution among others, under the provisions of Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Act, 2019.