Supreme Court to constitute committee to look into Adani-Hindenburg issue

New Delhi, Mar 2:Supreme Court in its verdict on Thursday said it is constituting a committee to look into the Adani-Hindenburg issue and this committee will be supervised by a SC-appointed a panel, including O P Bhat, Justice JP Devdhar, K V Kamat, Nandan Nilekani and Somasekhar Sundaresan and the committe will be headed by Justice (Former) Abhay M Sapre.

The Supreme Court also said that the SEBI shall conclude the probe within 2 months and file a report and the committee shall submit its report in a sealed cover before the court within 2 months.

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dr Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chadrachud and also comprising Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwa, who had reserved its verdict on February 17 on constitution of a committee, pronounced the judgement today.

The Supreme Court had heard a number of petitions filed by lawyer duo — Manohar Lal Sharma and Vishal Tiwari — Congress leader and Member of Parliament (MP) Dr Jaya Thakur, seeking a direction for investigation against Adani Group in the light of Hindenburg report.

“The decline on share price was precipitated by report by Hindenburg. The report alleges that the Adani group manipulated violated security laws,” the Apex Court noted in its judgement.

“As a part of SEBI probe, it shall also look into whether violation rule 19 of security contract regulation rules. whether there was any manipulation of stock prices,” the Supreme Court said, in its verdict.

The Top Court also noted in its verdict that there was a need to review existing regulatory mechanism to protect indian investors from market volatility, both the Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta and lawyer Prashant Bhushan has submitted suggested remit of committee.

The Apex Court had in its order on February 17, said that it would not accept the sealed cover names of experts suggested by Union government for including in the committee to be set up to examine Hindenburg-Adani report that led to meltdown of Adani group shares, noting that “We want to maintain full transparency” in the case.

“We will select the experts and maintain full transparency. 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,” a bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the CJI Dr Chandrachud had said.

The Supreme Court also had observed that we will not accept the sealed cover suggestion by you (Uoi), because we want to maintain full transparency and if we accept suggestions in sealed cover, it is like we have not kept it away from other side as people will think it is a govt appointed committee.

“If we accept suggestions we should disclose it to the other side so that there is transparency. So we will appoint the committee and appoint members on our own,” the Supreme Court had said.

The Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, senior law offiver of the Government of India, had told the Supreme Court that this is so couched so that truth comes out and holistic view is presented and so that there is unintended impact on the markets.

“The SEBI is taking care of all the aspects and also it is doing its best to protect investor interests and otjer aspects also,” the SG Mehta had told the Apex Court.

The Top Court also had refused to accept SEBIs suggestions for appointment of an expert committee to examine changes required in regulatory framework, and said that it will appoint the same itself to maintain “fullest transparency for protection of investors.”

“We do not want to put out names since it may affect them. We dont want names and we will do our own work but we can,” the Supreme Court had said, in its order.

Advocate Vishal Tiwari, one of the petitioners, said that we want this entire thing to be probed and a high powered committee to look into it, what is happening in corporate bodies.

“Fair, unbiased and credible investigation is required in this case,” lawyer for one of the petitioners, had told the Supreme Court.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan for another petitioner, said that we demand a SIT probe into the adani group case and also a probe into the role of banks.

“Hindenburg Research report shows that many offshore companies were owned by brother of the promoter of adani group.. percentage of share held in adani group exceeded the max laid down as 75% by SEBI and offshore funds were being manipulated to increase share price,” Bhushan had told the Supreme Court.

Bhushan said that we seek to know the source of funds by the shell companies which the report shows.

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