SEBI directs finfluencer to deposit Rs 12 crore ‘unlawful gains’ made through advisory services

Regulator SEBI cracks down on unregistered investment advisory and directs financial influencer, Ravindra Balu Bharti to deposit illicit profits worth Rs12 crore

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Delhi: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has taken action against a financial influencer (finfluencer), Ravindra Balu Bharti, who unlawfully amassed over Rs 12 crores through investment advisory services, according to reports. 

Bharti has been directed by SEBI to deposit the money to an interest-bearing Escrow Account created specifically for a nationalised bank.  SEBI’s order stated that the Escrow Account  will hold the money under a lien in favour of SEBI and the fund will not be released without SEBI’s permission.

The order further highlighted the misuse of investors' confidence, and how the systems are being abused for personal gains and attainments.

The order stated, "Guaranteed returns up to 1000% is a clear case of abuse of investors' confidence in the securities market.”

“Investors were lured to take the advisory services by projecting returns in the range of 25 to 1000%. The investors who opted for such services were required to agree, containing detailed terms and conditions of providing investment advisory services; fee to be paid against availing investment advisory services, expected returns on investment made on the advisory, profit sharing percentage in case the returns exceed the expected returns,” it said.

“Bharti attracted investors through his YouTube channels, boasting substantial subscriber bases in both Marathi and Hindi languages,” SEBI further reported.

Ravindra Balu Bharti was a Director of RBEIPL for the period commencing from February 03, 2016, to October 03, 2023. He has two YouTube channels named Bharti Share Market Marathi with 10.8 lakh subscribers and Bharti Share Market - Hindi with 8.22 lakh subscribers. 

The regulators who issued the order have taken action against an unregistered investment advisory named Ravindra Bharti Education Institute Private Ltd (RBEIPL), its former director Ravindra Balu Bharti and his wife Shubhangi Bharti, and current directors Rahul Ananta Gosavi, and Dhanashri Chandrakant Gosavi.

Following an investigation, the market regulator mandated that the individuals and entities named in the order cease offering investment advisory services and refrain from representing themselves as investment advisors. Additionally, they are restrained from buying, selling, or engaging in any form of securities transactions, directly or indirectly, until further notice. 

SEBI's order highlighted, “An amount totaling INR 12,03,82,130.91, representing the illicit gains accrued from the alleged unregistered investment advisory business, be impounded from Noticee no. 1 (Ravindra Bharti Education Institute).”

“India’s capital market in recent times has witnessed tremendous growth, characterised by increasing participation of the common public based on investors’ confidence. This confidence in the capital market can be sustained largely by ensuring investors’ protection. Disclosure and transparency are the two pillars on which market integrity rests,” the order stated.