SC to consider plea for listing of PILs on Adani-Hindenburg row

The Supreme Court on Monday said the apex court registry will look into the issue of listing for hearing PILs related to allegations of stock price manipulation by the Adani group.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra was told by lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for one of the PIL petitioners, that the pleas were to be listed on August 28.

“The matter was to be listed on August 28, but it has been deferred, deferred, deferred,” Bhushan said.

“I will check with the registry,” the CJI said.

On July 11, the top court had asked the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) about the status of its ongoing investigation into the allegations of stock price manipulation by the Adani group.

The court, which had granted time till August 14 for probe by the SEBI, had said the inquiry has to be concluded expeditiously.

Later, the capital markets regulator filed a status report on Adani-Hindenburg probe and said it was awaiting information from tax havens.

The SEBI, in its report, had said that it has completed the probe in all but two allegations against the Adani group and is still awaiting information from five tax havens on actual owners behind foreign investors investing in the conglomerate.

The report said out of the 24 matters it was probing, findings in as many as 22 are final.

Without divulging the outcome of its investigations, the SEBI had given a detailed breakdown of the steps taken by it during its probe, including related party transactions.

“SEBI shall take appropriate action based on the outcome of the investigations in accordance with law,” the regulator had said.

The probe reports finalised include allegations of manipulation of stock prices, alleged failure to disclose transactions with related parties and possible violation of insider trading in some of the group stocks.

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.

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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 and 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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