New Delhi: The finance ministry on Monday, May 15 said that it stands by its 2021 reply in the Lok Sabha that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) was investigating the Adani Group.
The Government stands by its reply in Lok Sabha on 19th July 2021 to Q. No. 72, which was based on due diligence and inputs from all concerned agencies. https://t.co/JGZHXT6kqM
— Ministry of Finance (@FinMinIndia) May 15, 2023
The Minister of State for Finance, Pankaj Chaudhary, had in July 2021 told the Lok Sabha that the capital markets regulator was investigating the Adani Group.
However, SEBI has told the Supreme Court that it has not probed any Adani Group company since 2016 and that a previous statement, alleging the same, was “factually baseless”.
Opposition leaders have said that this is a “cover up” and claimed that in 2021, the government had told the Lok Sabha that SEBI was investigating the Adani Group.
The Minister of State for Finance, Pankaj Chaudhary, told the Lok Sabha on 19th July 2021 that SEBI was investigating the Adani Group.
Now SEBI tells the Supreme Court that they have not been investigating any of the serious allegations against Adani!
Which is worse—misleading… pic.twitter.com/GWCcB9VkSO
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) May 15, 2023
So, SEBI denies any investigation into Adani companies since 2016, denies its own statement to the court? Was the junior finance minister lying to the country regarding the investigation in his answer on 19 July 2021?
This smells of a cover up but at whose behest? pic.twitter.com/mgJQkzI2XI
— Priyanka Chaturvedi🇮🇳 (@priyankac19) May 15, 2023
SEBI’s claim came in a rejoinder affidavit it filed on May 15, seeking more time to probe the Adani-Hindenburg issue, LiveLaw reported.
In a report that had made quite the splash, the US short-seller Hindenburg Research had alleged stock manipulation and fraud by the Adani Group’s companies.
LiveLaw notes that the affidavit states: “The allegation that Securities and Exchange Board of India is investigating Adani since 2016 is factually baseless. The reliance sought to be placed on the investigation pertaining to GDRs is wholly misplaced.”
SEBI added in its rejoinder that no listed company of Adani Group was part of the 51 companies it is looking at.
SEBI which among other things is said to be probing if lack of certain key disclosures on the part of the Adani Group “violated ‘related party transaction’ rules,” is asking for six more months to complete the probe.
A bench of Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, and Justices P.S. Narasimha and J.B. Pardiwala had last week indicated that it could not allow more than three months to finish the entire exercise. The original two-month period granted by the Supreme Court on March 2, ended on May 2.
On April 2 and April 26, the chairperson of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had briefed the expert committee on the matter.
The apex court had asked both SEBI and an expert committee it appointed to complete their probes within two months. The latter submitted its report in a sealed cover on May 10. On April 2 and April 26, the SEBI chairperson had briefed the expert committee on the matter, it has been reported.
In an earlier hearing advocate Prashant Bhushan had said that since SEBI had admitted to have looked at Adani Group’s transactions “since 2017,” its request for time is not acceptable.
This story, which was published on May 15 at 3:22 pm, has been republished on the same date at 10:10 pm with the finance ministry’s response on SEBI’s statement on investigating Adani Group companies.