Millennium Post

SAT adjourns RIL-Sebi case hearing for fourth time

The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) on Friday adjourned the hearing on Reliance Industries Ltd’s (RIL) plea against the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) in the insider trading case for the fourth time in a row to July 22 as the company sought more time to file its response.

Reliance Industries Ltd’s Counsel Janak Dwarakadas informed Securities Appellate Tribunal presiding officer Jog Singh that they could not file the reply as the company’s appointed person could not prepare the papers as his father was hospitalised.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India counsel noted that the continuous adjournments that the company is seeking will further delay the ongoing adjudication process into the case. The matter was last heard by the Securities Appellate Tribunal on February 21, when the Tribunal sought time to study the application, which the Securities and Exchange Board of India  terms as ‘not maintainable’. Since then Reliance Industries Ltd has been seeking adjournment. The case was then adjourned in March, April and May and today as well.

The Tribunal head told the Reliance Industries Ltd counsel that before the next hearing, slated for July 22 and which will be the final hearing, the company should file its response, failing which it would not entertain the reply.
The case relates to Reliance Industries Ltd’s appeal against market regulator Sebi in a case related to alleged violation of insider trading norms in sale of shares of its erstwhile subsidiary RPL in 2007.
Reliance Industries Ltd had approached Securities Appellate Tribunal against the Securities and Exchange Board of India after its application to settle the matter through a ‘consent mechanism’ was rejected by the regulator.
Under the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s consent mechanism, companies can seek to settle cases with the market regulator after payment of certain charges and disgorgement of any ill-gotten gains.

Reliance Industries Ltd has challenged the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s decision and also the recent changes made by the regulator in regulations governing settlement of cases through the consent mechanism, especially those already under consideration.
In May 2012, the Securities and Exchange Board of India had tightened the norms for settlement through consent framework. As a result, many cases, including those related to insider trading, are not being settled through this mechanism.
On January 3 this year, the Securities and Exchange Board of India had published a list of 149 consent pleas, including 16 from   
entities related to the
Reliance Industries Ltd group, which it had
found unsuitable for settlement through consent process.
These include applications of Reliance Industries Ltd itself and that of RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani’s close aide Manoj Modi.
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