Adani row: SC refuses to accept sealed cover suggestion from Centre on panel to protect investors
The court said accepting the government’s suggestions for reviewing and strengthening regulator mechanism would amount to the Centre forming the committee.
The Supreme Court on Friday said that it will not accept in sealed cover suggestions on names proposed by the Centre as members of a committee to review and strengthen regulatory mechanism in order to protect investors, reported Live Law. The panel has been proposed in light of the allegations of stock manipulation against the Adani Group.
“We will select the experts and maintain full transparency,” said Chief Justice DY Chandrachud. “If we take names from the government, it would amount to a government constituted committee. There has to be full [public] confidence in the committee.”
Earlier this week, the Union government had said it had no objections in forming a panel to protect investors, but had insisted on suggesting the names of members of the committee. The Centre had made its submissions after the court suggested forming the committee, expressing concern about the rout in shares of the Adani Group. The court noted that investors have suffered losses running into several lakh crores.
On Friday, the Supreme Court sought views of the Centre and Securities and Exchange Board of India on how a more robust mechanism can be installed to protect investors and also proposed forming a committee.
The ports-to-energy conglomerate led by billionaire Gautam Adani has been steeped in a crisis since January 24, when Hindenburg Research alleged that the group has amassed substantial debt by pledging overvalued shares. Since the report was released, Adani Group companies have lost nearly Rs 9 lakh crore in the stock market bloodbath.
At Friday’s hearing, Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for a petitioner seeking investigation against the Adani Group, submitted that the Hindenburg report shows that the conglomerate had used offshore funds, which means that percentage of shares held by promoters exceeded the regulations set by SEBI.
“Then – this is very important – what is the source of funds of the shell companies which have been allegedly used to invest large sums?” asked Bhushan. “Was LIC used to facilitate the price manipulation of Adani Shares?”
To this, the court said it can’t start the hearing by presuming the failure of the regulatory bodies.
“There is no iota of doubt that SEBI was involved, complaints were issued, they allowed for shares to shoot up 40-50 times...”, Bhushan submitted.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta objected to Bhushan’s statements “SEBI and all regulators have discharged their duties,” he said. “Nothing remains hidden.”
The court also rejected Bhushan’s suggestion of judges to include the in the committee, saying that since it did not accept the Centre’s submission, it can’t accept the petitioners’.
The court has reserved its order on the matter of appointing the committee, reported ANI.