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Gag media from publishing unverified allegations: Lawyer’s plea to SC

Manohar Lal Sharma urged the apex court to issue a gag order restraining the media from releasing any allegations against the listed companies without being pre-verified by the SEBI.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

A plea has been moved in the Supreme Court by a lawyer seeking to gag media from publishing allegations in connection with the Adani Group firms unless market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) verifies them.

The petition has been moved by advocate ML Sharma. Sharma had earlier also sought a probe against a US-based firm, whose report had led to shares of the Adani Group plunging on the bourses. This time, Manohar Lal Sharma filed another plea in the apex court to issue a gag order restraining the media from releasing any allegations against the listed companies including the Adani Group of Companies without being pre-verified by the SEBI.

An allegation without verified evidence is dangerous and it cannot be allowed to be released in any manner in either forum in any media by anyone, the advocate said.

He also claimed that these allegations have put the investors into panic and they also suffered from huge financial losses, and also resulted in a huge crash of more than 50 per cent in the Indian share market.

In his PIL, Sharma has also sought the prosecution of short seller Nathan Anderson of US-based firm Hindenburg Research and his associates in India and the US for allegedly exploiting innocent investors and the “artificial crashing” of the Adani Group’s stock value in the market.

American short seller Hindenburg Research’s report about Indian billionaire Gautam Adani has led to a stock rout, erasing over $100 billion and pushing him down on the global rich list. The Adani Group rubbished the allegations made by the Hindenburg Research.

Sharma’s plea further added, “They secured billions of profits by butchering citizens of India. However, the SEBI did not suspend trading in the stock, especially qua, to the Adani Group of the Companies and allowed short sellers to exploit innocent investors”.

The plea further said, “Issue writ of mandamus to the respondents to conduct inquiry to prosecute & register FIR u/s 420 & 120-B of IPC r.w. S.15HA SEBI Act against the short sellers (Mr. Anderson and his associate (in India/US) for exploiting innocent Investors via short selling under the garb of artificial crashing via short selling couple with further direction to recover their turnover of short selling with penalty to compensate investors in the interest of justice.”