How SC verdict on Adani-Hindenburg will impact future SEBI probes
Allegations or complaints made in future by third parties may be seen as preliminary rather than definitive evidence against Indian firms or regulatory bodies
The decision of the Supreme Court of India to deny the petitioners' primary claims in the matter regarding the SEBI probe of charges brought by Hindenburg Research on the Adani Group indicates that in future, allegations or complaints made by third parties may be seen as preliminary rather than definitive evidence against Indian firms or regulatory organisations.
SEBI's authority reaffirmed its stance with this statement: "The Supreme Court's rejection of reliance on a third-party report (in this case, Hindenburg Research) and that it cannot enter into the domain of the regulatory body shows that the petitioners have not been able to establish enough solid ground for the apex court to take over the probe and that it has enough confidence in SEBI."
Meanwhile, after the Supreme Court (SC)'s decision, the stock market reacted positively, notably for Adani Group companies. This reaction implies that the market perceives the ruling favourably for the Adani Group, perhaps alleviating the uncertainty over these companies since the Hindenburg Research study. The shares of Adani group companies rose to 11 per cent following the verdict.
The flagship Adani Ports and SEZ and Adani Enterprises grew 2 per cent and 5 per cent respectively. Adani Wilmar, Adani Green Energy, Adani Power, Adani Total Gas, and Adani Energy Solutions were higher by 3 per cent to 11 per cent. Those of Ambuja Cements, ACC and NDTV increased up to 11 per cent.
This decision clearly now emphasises the SC's perspective on the limited scope of judicial action in situations involving specialised regulatory agencies. The decision to allow SEBI to handle the probe without judicial intervention establishes a legal precedent for future cases in which regulatory agencies' roles are called into question.
Transparency and corporate governance
The Hindenburg report's directive to SEBI and the government to examine suspected law infractions highlights India's continued emphasis on corporate governance and transparency. This could result in more stringent compliance requirements for firms, improving transparency and governance standards.
Regulatory efficiency and effectiveness
The court's order that SEBI concludes its inquiry into the remaining two of twenty-four cases within three months emphasises the need for prompt and efficient regulatory action. This could set a precedent for faster future settlement of complex business inquiries, reducing uncertainty for all stakeholders.
Legal structure for short selling
The case highlights the legal and regulatory structure that governs short selling (Short selling is an investment strategy where an investor borrows shares, sells them immediately at their current price, and then aims to buy them back later at a lower price to return to the lender, profiting from the difference if the stock's price falls) in India. The Hindenburg report probe could result in a re-examination or strengthening of the laws governing short selling and related disclosures, potentially leading to more powerful regulatory systems.
Financial regulation integrity
The court affirmed the current financial regulatory framework by rejecting requests to annul revisions to the FPI (Foreign Portfolio Investors) and LODR (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) regulations. This result means that the court identified no serious flaws in the regulations that would necessitate judicial action.
Responsibilities of govt and SEBI
The directive to the government of India and SEBI to investigate any potential legal violations in the Hindenburg report on short selling and take appropriate action if necessary, places responsibility on these bodies to ensure the integrity of financial markets and adherence to laws.
Transfer of investigations standard
The emphasis placed by the Chief Justice of India on the requirement for unusual circumstances and compelling arguments to transfer investigations from one body to another sets a high bar for such transfers, ensuring tat investigations are not changed for insignificant reasons.
The SC verdict may just set a precedent for the treatment of third-party reports and media scrutiny in financial matters.