The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) is reportedly probing possible violation of ‘related party’ transaction rules in the Adani group’s dealings with at least three offshore entities that have links to Vinod Adani, the elder brother of founder Gautam Adani.
According to a Reuters report, these three entities allegedly entered into several investment transactions with unlisted units of the conglomerate over the last 13 years.
The three entities with links to Vinod Adani that are being probed by the market regulator for ‘related party’ transactions include Mauritius-based Krunal Trade and Investments, Gardenia Trade and Investments, and Electrogen Infra in Dubai.
The report added that Vinod Adani is either a beneficial owner, director or has links with those three offshore entities, and Sebi is investigating if the lack of that disclosure violated ‘related party transaction’ rules.
Sebi is reportedly suspecting that there were “disclosure violations” on some of those transactions.
According to Sebi norms direct relatives, promoter groups, and subsidiaries of listed companies are considered related parties.
Transactions between listed or unlisted companies and the related party have to be disclosed in regulatory and public filings. It also require shareholder approval if a transaction is above a particular threshold (Rs 1,000 crore or 10 per cent of a listed company’s annual consolidated turnover). Violations generally attract monetary fines.
The US short seller Hindenburg had written about such related party transactions in its January report.
“Many of the Vinod Adani-associated entities have no obvious signs of operations, including no reported employees, no independent addresses or phone numbers and no meaningful online presence. Despite this, they have collectively moved billions of dollars into Adani’s publicly listed and private entities, often without required disclosure of the related party nature of the deals,’’ it had said.
Subsequently the Adani group, which had rejected the Hindenburg allegations, had come out with a 413-page response to the Hindenburg report where it said, “all transactions entered into by us with entities who qualify as ‘related parties’ under Indian laws and accounting standards have been duly disclosed by us’’.
The Sebi probe into possible violations of related party transactions comes at a time the market regulator is to soon submit its findings to a committee appointed by the Supreme Court.
Last month, the apex court had asked the market regulator to investigate whether the Adani group had violated a key rule on public shareholding to manipulate the prices of its shares.
It had asked Sebi to look into whether there has been a failure to disclose transactions with related parties and other relevant information which concerns related parties and whether there was any manipulation of stock prices in contravention of existing laws.