The Supreme Court on Wednesday gave the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) an extension of three months’ time to complete its investigation into the Hindenburg report on the Adani group of companies.
Refusing to give extension of six months sought by the SEBI, a bench of Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha and Justice J.B. Pardiwala posted the matter for hearing on August 14 – a deadline for the securities market regulator to conclude its probe and submit the report.
Simultaneously, the bench ordered that the copies of the report of the expert committee headed by a top court judge, Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, shall be made available to the parties and sought their counsels to assist the court. The bench posted the matter for July 11 to consider the expert committee report submitted to the top court last week.
The court asked the expert committee to continue with its deliberations and assist the court in the hearing of the matter.
Besides Justice Sapre who heads the expert committee, other members of the committee are O. P. Bhatt, Justice J. P. Devadhar (retired), K.V. Kamath, Nandan Nilekani and Somashekhar Sundaresan.
The committee was asked to suggest measures to secure compliance with the existing framework for the protection of investors.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed court that SEBI is seeking extension of time for conducting probe and need six months to reach any conclusion. In the last week itself, the top court had made it clear that it would give market regulator just three more months to complete its task.
Seeking an extension of six months, SEBI has told the top court that its request for extension of time by six months is to ensure carriage of justice keeping in mind the interest of investors and the securities market since any incorrect or premature conclusion of the case arrived at without full facts material on record would not serve the ends of justice and hence would be legally untenable.
As regards 12 transactions of the Adani group referred in the Hindenburg report, prima facie they are highly complex and have many sub-transactions across the numerous jurisdictions and their rigorous investigation would require collation of data/information from various sources, including bank statements from multiple domestic as well as international banks, financial statements of onshore and offshore entities involved in the transactions and contracts and agreements, if any, entered between the entities along with other supporting documents.
SEBI told the SC that their analysis would have to be conducted on the documents received from various sources before conclusive findings can be arrived at.
On January 24, the Hindenburg had published its research report raising 88 questions against the Adani group for manipulation of its shares. The report led to continuous fall of the share prices of the Adani companies for two months.
Gautam Adani, who had risen to be the fourth billionaire, found his net worth falling to 37th level.