The Income Tax department has declined to share details of probe being carried out in Rs 5,600 crore (Rs 56 billion) payment default by National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL) saying it would "hamper the process of investigation or apprehension of offenders".
"Details of investigation being done by the Income Tax department cannot be divulged as this would hamper the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders," it said in reply to an RTI query seeking details of probe against the bourse.
Replying to the RTI application, the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) said the complaints related to alleged financial irregularities, as and when received, are forwarded to Forward Markets Commission (FMC).
The DEA also said that no investigation is being made by it against the NSEL, its supported or associated companies, their promoters and government officials for their alleged involvement in payment default case in the exchange.
"Complaints related to alleged financial irregularities, as and when received against the NSEL and its promoters, are forwarded to the FMC, Mumbai for action as appropriate," it said adding that the application was being forwarded to the commission for giving further information.
The FMC, in its reply to the application, said the information sought against NSEL "is not specified and is likely to pertain to third parties also".
"In case copy of any specific complaint is to be sought by the applicant then the same may be communicated to the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) in the form of fresh RTI query on the same which can then be considered. The reference to financial irregularities "is not specific/clear," the FMC said in its reply.
Commodity exchange NSEL, promoted by Jignesh Shah-led Financial Technologies group, is facing multi-agency probe for the payment crisis. Commodity trade in NSEL has been suspended following the issue.
The NSEL has been actively pursuing recovery of outstanding dues from the 24 members with a total pay-in obligation of around Rs 5,600 crore, as per the information put on its website.
"While 3 members, with total liability of Rs 254.6 crore have reached a settlement with the Exchange and cleared/are clearing their outstanding dues, NSEL has declared 21 members as 'Defaulter' as per the Rule 41 of the Exchange Bye laws on 22 August, 2013, 28 August, 2013 and 22 October, 2013.
"The total outstanding from these defaulting members on July 31, 2013 stood at Rs 5435.35 crore," its website reads.
So far, properties worth Rs 3,790.03 crore have been attached of the defaulters and the three former employees of NSEL, who have been named as "main accused" by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police in its charge-sheet on January 6, 2014, according to information put on NSEL's site.