In a clean-up exercise, SEBI is going to delist over 4000 defunct companies

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Indian market regulator, is going to delist as many as 4, 200 defunct companies.

It is also going to delist companies whose shares are not being traded and if promoters refuse to give exit opportunity to investors, they would have to face strict penal actions.

Among these 4,200 companies, more than 1,200 companies are those whose shares are listed on BSE and NSE but where trading has been suspended for various issues for more than seven years.

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SEBI chairman UK Sinha said there are more than 3,000 companies listed on various regional stock exchanges but now are defunct.

"So far, we have had a hands-off approach on auditors, but we will take action if something serious comes to our notice. Auditors cannot go scot-free if they have been certifying the books for years without pointing finger at the lapses," said Sinha.

"We are going to reduce the number of listed companies. We have already reduced the number of stock exchanges by successfully closing several defunct or non-functional regional exchanges. They were centres of risk and there were series of litigations but we have won all of them,” he added.

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