To catch manipulators, markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) Sebi has begun looking into social media accounts of suspected persons, with ‘mutual friends on Facebook’ being cited as evidence for the first time in an insider trading case.

While Sebi has been examining Twitter and Facebook for quite some time for investigation purposes, this is the first time the regulator has used Facebook account as evidence for proving charges against an individual.

In an insider trading case, Sebi has ordered impounding of unlawful gains of over Rs 2 crore from 15 individuals.

These persons are Palem Srikanth Reddy (CMD of PTL), P Soujanya Reddy, Ameen Khwaja, Noorjahan Khwaja, Ashik Ali Khwaja, Rozina Hirani Khwaja, Shefali Ameen Khwaja, Shahid Khwaja, Kukati Parvathi, Pirani Amyn Abdul Aziz, Karna Ramanjula Reddy, Umashankar S, Raja Lakshmi Srivaiguntam, Prakash Lohia and Mohan Krishna Reddy Aryabumi.
These individuals were allegedly ‘connected entities’ and had traded in the shares of Palred Technologies Ltd (PTL) while possessing price-sensitive information and allegedly made unlawful gains in the process, Sebi found.

In his 15 page-order, Sebi’s whole time member Prashant Saran said: “Pirani Amyn Abdul Aziz is also found to be connected to Ameen Khwaja through mutual friends on Facebook. He was employed with Deloitte Tax Services India Pvt Ltd (a group company of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India Pvt Ltd, which had conducted the due diligence of PTL during the slump sale).”