SEBI can’t act against entities based only on news reports: CJI

SEBI can’t act against entities based only on news reports: CJI

New Delhi, Nov 24 (IANS) The Chief Justice of India, D.Y. Chandrachud, has expressed concerns over the reliance placed by the petitioners in the Adani-Hindenburg case on certain media reports to level allegations against the Adani Group and India’s regulatory system.

The court said that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) cannot be expected to follow what newspaper reports have said in order to make its findings.

The Chief Justice also expressed displeasure over the use of information from reports by organisations such as the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and Hindenburg Research by the petitioners.

The observations came after the Supreme Court resumed its hearing in the ongoing case after a gap of almost three months.

The Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta, brought new facts regarding the OCCRP report to the notice of the Supreme Court.

As per Mehta, when SEBI wrote to the OCCRP seeking details and documents relied upon by the organisation while levelling allegations against the Adani Group in its August 31 report, the OCCRP did not share the details of the allegations, and said that they could instead be obtained from an NGO in India, which had provided it the information.

As per the Solicitor General, the NGO is run by Prashant Bhushan.

During the hearing, Mehta informed the Court that investigation in 22 out of the 24 cases relating to the allegations against the Adani Group were over.

"For the remaining two, we need information from foreign regulators etc., along with some other information. We have been in consultation with them. Some information has come but that is where we are not in control of the time limit for obvious reasons...," he said.

To recall, while rejecting OCCRP's allegations, the Adani Group had termed the report as yet another concerted bid by Soros-funded interests supported by a section of the foreign media to revive the meritless Hindenburg report.

The Adani Group had said, “These claims are based on closed cases from a decade ago when the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) probed allegations of over invoicing, transfer of funds abroad, related party transactions and investments through FPIs.

"An independent adjudicating authority and an appellate tribunal had both confirmed that there was no overvaluation and that the transactions were in accordance with the applicable law. The matter attained finality in March 2023 when the Supreme Court ruled in our favour.

"Clearly, since there was no overvaluation, there is no relevance or foundation for these allegations on transfer of funds.”