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Grapevine: Jhunjhunwala under SEBI lens; Kedaara may bet on Veritas Finance
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala | Photo Credit: Reuters

The Securities and Exchange Board of India is investigating insider trading allegations against billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, a media report said.

Jhunjhunwala is being probed for alleged insider trading in the shares of education services firm Aptech Ltd, The Economic Times reported citing two people familiar with the development. SEBI is also investigating the role of some other people including investor Ramesh S Damani and director Madhu Jayakumar, the report said.

The report didn’t specify the period during which the alleged trading took place.

Jhunjhunwala had first invested in Aptech in 2005 and later increased his stake to almost 49%. Aptech is Jhunjhunwala’s only investment where he wields management control, the report said.

Meanwhile, private equity firm Kedaara Capital is in advanced discussions to acquire a stake in non-bank lender Veritas Finance Mint reported, citing two people aware of the talks.

Kedaara and existing investors Norwest Venture Partners and CDC Group may invest Rs 500 crore in Veritas at a valuation of Rs 2,000 crore, the report said. Kedaara is currently deploying capital from its second fund of $750 million.

Veritas mainly lends to micro, small and medium enterprises. It has a loan book of over Rs 1,200 crore and over 45,000 customers, according to its website.

In another development, Small Industries Development Bank of India (Sidbi) is set to sell its minority stake in Bandhan Financial Services Ltd, the holding firm for Bandhan Bank, for close to Rs 4,500 crore, The Economic Times reported, citing two people aware of the development.

The potential buyer may be offered a discount of up to 25% on the price as compared to the current valuation of Bandhan Bank, the report said.

Private equity investors as well as global public market investors are likely to begin discussions to acquire the stake. Current investors in Bandhan Financial include International Finance Corporation, FIG Investment Company and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC.

Separately, Canada-based Brookfield Asset Management Inc. is entering the co-living spaces segment in India with a new brand. It is in advanced talks with Mumbai International Airport Ltd to lease 15 acres of airport land for the purpose, Business Standard reported. Brookfield is also planning a commercial building on the plot.

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