The Supreme Court of India delivered the much-awaited verdict on the Adani-Hinderburg controversy, months after a batch of pleas were filed seeking a probe into the matter. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justices J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, hearing the case said that there was no ground to transfer the case from Sebi to SIT, and directed Sebi to go ahead with its probe as per the law.
The apex court had reserved its verdict in the case in November last year. Chief Justice Chandrachud had conveyed dissatisfaction regarding the petitioners’ reliance on information sourced from entities such as the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and Hindenburg Research. He emphasized the court’s necessity to depend on Indian investigative agencies for credible information.
The controversial Hindenburg Research’s report, inter alia, alleged that the Adani Group of companies has manipulated its share prices, failed to disclose transactions with related parties and other relevant information concerning related parties in contravention of the regulations framed by the SEBI, and violated other provisions of securities laws, causing the group considerable financial damage.
As advocate Prashant Bhushan raised questions on the credibility of investigations undertaken by the SEBI in the matter, the CJI had said: “Where is the material before us to doubt the SEBI’s investigation? The SEBI is a statutory body entrusted to investigate stock market violations. Is it proper for the highest court — without any material — to reconstitute an SIT of our own?”
During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the SEBI, had said that the government is considering “constructively with open mind” the suggestions made by the court-appointed expert committee. “Wherever we found short selling, we will take action and we are taking action,” Mehta had apprised the apex court. He had said that 22 out of 24 investigations have already been finalised and in relation to the remaining two cases, the reports are interim in nature, adding that the SEBI has sought information from foreign agencies and has no “control on time limit”.