Monday, June 5

India’s top court gives market watchdog 3 more months to finish Adani probe

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MUMBAI — India’s Supreme Court on Wednesday granted the country’s market regulator additional time till August 14 to complete its investigation into possible violations of securities law and regulatory disclosures by the Adani group.

The court directed the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to complete its probe in three months and file a status report on its investigations against the group, whose shares plunged after being criticized by US-based short-seller Hindenburg Research in January.

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In a petition filed on April 29, SEBI had sought another six months to complete its probe, following a court order on March 2 which had asked the regulator to submit a report by May 2.

Hindenburg Research had raised several governance concerns around the Adani group, leading to a loss of more than $100 billion in the market capitalization of companies in the group founded by billionaire Gautam Adani.

Following this, the Supreme Court had asked SEBI to probe some of the allegations made and submit a report to a court-appointed panel.

While requesting additional time to complete its investigations, the regulator had said it needed time to unravel complex transactions involving the conglomerate’s listed, unlisted and offshore entities.

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The regulator told the top court that Adani group’s listed companies were already under investigation for violation of public float norms since October 2020. Under Indian securities law every listed company must have 25% of public float. Adani group companies are being probed for violation of this law.

The Supreme Court directed the market regulator to place on record its findings so far relating to the investigation on violation of public float by the Adani group.

SEBI, in its previous filing with the top court, said it has formed a preliminary view on the allegations and governance concerns leveled by Hindenburg Research in its January report, but did not disclose its view. (Reporting by Arpan Chaturvedi, Jayshree Upadhay in Mumbai ; Editing by Varun HK and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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