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regular-article-logo Monday, 17 June 2024

Adani-Hindenburg row: SEBI requests Supreme Court for more time to conclude probe into stock price manipulation allegations

Securities and Exchange Board of India, in its fresh application, said that it has examined and investigated 24 matters pertaining to the case

PTI New Delhi Published 14.08.23, 01:04 PM
Representational image.

Representational image. File picture

Market regulator SEBI on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking an extension of 15 days to conclude the ongoing probe into the allegations of stock price manipulation by the Adani group.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), in its fresh application, said that it has examined and investigated 24 matters pertaining to the case.

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"Out of the said 24 investigations/examinations, 17 are final and complete and approved by the competent authority in accordance with SEBI's extant practice and procedures," the regulator said.

The application said in one matter, SEBI has completed the investigation/examination based on the material that could be gathered by it thus far and interim report has been prepared and approved by the competent authority in accordance with SEBI's extant practice and procedures.

"The applicant/SEBI had sought information from agencies/regulators in foreign jurisdictions, etc. and upon receipt of such information, will evaluate the same to determine further course of action, if any, in the said matter," it said.

The SEBI said that out of the remaining six matters, "in four investigations/examinations, findings have been crystalized and the reports prepared consequent thereto are in the process of approval by the competent authority." The application said the SEBI expects to complete the approval process in respect of these four matters shortly and in any event, before the next date of hearing on August 29.

It said that in the remaining two matters, investigation is at an advanced stage in one and in the other matter, interim report is under preparation based on information gathered by the SEBI thus far.

"The applicant/SEBI had sought information from entities/agencies/regulators in foreign jurisdictions, etc. and upon receipt of such information, will evaluate the same vis-a-vis the interim report to determine further course of action, if any, in the said matter," it said.

The application said SEBI has "progressed substantially" and "keeping in view the ongoing work...it would be just, expedient and in the interest of justice that this court may be pleased to grant to the applicant/SEBI, an extension of time by 15 days in order to conclude the process and file status report with respect thereto, before this court."

It has urged the apex court to pass an order extending the time granted to SEBI to conclude the investigation and submit the status report by "15 days or such other period as this court may deem fit and necessary in the facts and circumstances of the present case."

On July 11, the top court had asked the SEBI about the status of its ongoing investigation into the allegations of stock price manipulation by the Adani group and said the probe has to be concluded expeditiously by the extended time it has granted till August 14.

Prior to that, on May 17, the apex court had granted SEBI time till August 14 to complete its probe into the allegations of stock price manipulation by the Adani group, and asked the market regulator to place on record an updated status report of the probe.

The court is seized of a clutch of pleas relating to the Adani-Hindenburg row.

A Supreme Court-appointed expert committee had in an interim report in May stated that it saw "no evident pattern of manipulation" in billionaire Gautam Adani's companies and there was no regulatory failure.

It, however, cited several amendments the SEBI made between 2014-2019 that constrained the regulator's ability to investigate, and its probe into alleged violation in money flows from offshore entities has "drawn a blank".

On May 17, the apex court had directed that copies of the report submitted before it by the top court-appointed Justice (retd) A M Sapre expert committee be made available to the parties to enable them to assist it in further deliberations in the matter.

Adani group stocks had been bludgeoned 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 dismissed the charges as lies, saying it complies with all laws and disclosure requirements.

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