Adani-Hindenburg row: SC refuses SIT probe, says no ground to transfer case from SEBI

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday while pronouncing its verdict on a batch of petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the allegations of stock price manipulation against the Adani Group said that the facts of the case did not warrant a transfer of probe to an SIT or another agency.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud refused an SIT probe into the matter remarking that “there was no material to doubt the investigation carried out by the Securities and Exchange Board of India.”

The apex court emphasised that its power to enter the regulatory framework of SEBI is limited.

“SEBI has completed investigation in 20 out of 22 matters. Taking into account the assurance of the Solicitor General, we direct the SEBI to complete the investigation in the other two cases within 3 months,” the CJI said.

The judgement on the PILs, filed by lawyers Vishal Tiwari, M L Sharma, and Congress leaders Jaya Thakur, and Anamika Jaiswal, was reserved on November 24 last year.

While reserving the verdict, the bench had said it had no reason to “discredit” SEBI, which probed allegations against the Adani group, considered close to the Modi government, as there was no material before it to doubt what the market regulator had done.

Adani Group stocks got bludgeoned on the bourses after short-seller Hindenburg Research made a litany of allegations, including those about fraudulent transactions and share-price manipulation, against the business conglomerate.

The pleas claimed that the allegations inflated Adani Group’s share prices and that after Hindenburg Research’s report was out, the share value of various group entities fell sharply. The Adani Group however dismissed the charges as lies, saying it complied with all laws and disclosure requirements.

One of the PILs had alleged that changes to the SEBI Act provided a ‘shield and an excuse’ for the Adani Group’s regulatory contraventions and market manipulations to remain undetected.

The top court had then asked the SEBI to independently investigate the matter and constituted a committee of experts headed by former SC judge Justice AM Sapre.