Trading traced to Mehta
THE income tax department, which attached most of notorious stockbroker Harshad Mehta's assets in the wake of the securities scam in April 1992, has uncovered more evidence of skulduggery on the part of the man who came to be known as the ''Big Bull'' of the stock markets.
The income tax sleuths found that large blocks of shares of a number of companies were still being traded in the market under different names, but that the ultimate ownership could be traced to Mehta.
The department has filed a miscellaneous application before the Special Court, presided over by Justice Sam Variava, adding the names of 20 companies whose shares are being held by a total of 524 benami (not real owners) individuals and 84 firms.
Among the corporate houses mentioned in the income tax department's application are Apollo Tyres, Mazda Industries, Castrol India, Saw Pipes, ITC Industries, United Phosphorous, Jaiprakash Industries and Excel.
This has given a new twist to the benami tangle. The addition of the names of more benamidars (people fronting for others), as well as the reference to 20 of the top corporate houses in India have come as body blows to the secondary market, which has been mainly buoyant.