The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the pleas related to the Adani-Hindenburg dispute on May 12 (Wednesday). The court had previously directed the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to investigate allegations of stock price manipulation by the Adani group and regulatory disclosure failures within a two-month timeframe, as of its ruling on March 2.
The top court had also set up a panel to look at providing protection to Indian investors after a damning report by US short seller Hindenburg wiped out more than USD 140 billion of the Indian conglomerate’s market value.
As per the cause list uploaded on the apex court website, a bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala is scheduled to hear the pleas.
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The hearing assumes significance in the wake of media reports that the six-member committee, headed by former apex court judge Justice A M Sapre, constituted for assessing the existing regulatory framework and making recommendations to strengthen the process, has submitted its report to the top court in a sealed cover.
Recently, market Regulator SEBI moved the apex court seeking a six-month extension to complete its probe into allegations of stock price manipulation by the Adani group and lapses in regulatory disclosure.
In an application moved before the court, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has submitted it needs six more months for ascertaining possible violations related to “misrepresentation of financials, circumvention of regulations and/or fraudulent nature of transactions”.
“Pass an order extending the time to conclude the investigation as directed by this Court by the common order dated March 2 by a period of 6 months or such other period as this court may deem fit and necessary in the facts and circumstances of the present case,” the SEBI plea said.
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One of the PIL petitioners, advocate Vishal Tiwari, has opposed the SEBI’s plea, saying the market regulator has already got sufficient time to inspect, examine, collect and seize relevant documents.
The apex court, while defending the setting up of the committee, had said it was appropriate to have a panel of experts in order to protect Indian investors against the volatility of the kind which has been witnessed in the recent past.
The court-appointed Justice Sapre panel is to be provided assistance by the Centre and other statutory agencies including the SEBI chairperson.
On February 10, the top court had said the interest of Indian investors needs to be protected against market volatility in the backdrop of the rout of the Adani Group stocks and asked the Centre to consider setting up a panel of domain experts headed by a former judge to look at strengthening the regulatory mechanism. The Centre had agreed to the apex courts proposal.
Till now, four PILs have been filed in the top court on the issue including by lawyers M L Sharma and Vishal Tiwari and Congress leader Jaya Thakur.
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Adani Group stocks had taken a beating on the bourses after Hindenburg Research made a litany of allegations, including those about fraudulent transactions and share-price manipulation, against the business conglomerate.
The Adani Group has dismissed the charges as lies, saying it complies with all laws and disclosure requirements.