These search and seizure operations were carried out at multiple locations in Jaipur, Kolkata, Noida and Pune, the sources said, without divulging any identity due to the investigation process still being underway.
Based on surveillance inputs and its internal alert system, Sebi initiated examination of suspected front running by persons associated with certain market experts appearing on a business news channel.
The modus-operandi of these entities was that they took positions in stocks just before recommendations were made by their associated market experts on the channel.
Trusting and acting on such recommendations, when investors-at-large would deal in such stocks, the said entities would then square-off their positions.
Such front running constitutes a violation under SEBI (Prohibition of Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices relating to Securities Market) Regulations, 2003.
Front running in market parlance means buying or selling securities ahead of a large order so as to benefit from the subsequent price move. During the search and seizure operations, Sebi officials seized various records including those on mobile phones, laptops, desktops, tablets and hard drive disks, found in the custody of these entities.
The data, emails and other documents are being retrieved from the seized devices and a detailed examination will be done, the sources said.