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May 4, 2002 | 1310 IST
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Home Trade officials skip Sebi hearing

BS Markets Bureau

Home Trade executives failed to appear before the Securities and Exchange Board of India to attend the post-decision hearing scheduled for Friday.

On April 30, Sebi suspended Home Trade from dealing in securities till May 10 for violating the Reserve Bank of India's norms in transactions with Nagpur District Central Co-operative Bank.

The hearing was scheduled for 1230 IST but Sebi officials said nobody turned up. The company was not even represented by its lawyers.

Sebi's summons for hearings are not always taken seriously by errant parties, and Home Trade's failure to attend is not unique.

However, Sebi likes to follow the principles of natural justice, giving the party enough time to defend itself.

"It is in the interest of the company to be present at the hearing," officials said.

Home Trade is likely to be given another chance to appear before Sebi chairman G N Bajpai to present its case and give reasons as to why it should not be barred from trading in securities.

However, if the company again fails to send its representative, Sebi will issue an ex-parte order extending the ban on it, with no evidence presented refuting the allegations against it.

This was the procedure followed in the case of broker Harshad Mehta, who was a consistent absentee at such hearings.

Sanjay Agrawal, promoter and chief executive of Home Trade, has been incommunicado ever since his firm's involvement in the gilts scam came to light. Executive director N S Trivedi also could not be contacted.

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