SEBI Seeks Extension on Adani Group's Stock Manipulation Probe

Adani and SEBI

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the market regulator, has requested a six-month extension from the Supreme Court to complete its investigation into allegations of stock price manipulation by the Adani group and any regulatory disclosure lapses. The apex court had earlier directed SEBI to investigate the matter within two months and establish a panel to assess the current regulatory framework and suggest measures to strengthen the process, after a report by a US short seller wiped out more than $140 billion of the conglomerate's market value.

SEBI filed an application before the court stating that it would take six more months to complete the exercise in order to ascertain possible violations related to misrepresentation of financials, circumvention of regulations, and/or fraudulent transactions. The plea urged the court to pass an order extending the time to conclude the investigation as directed by the court's previous order.

The six-member committee set up by the court, headed by former apex court judge Justice A.M. Sapre, will assist in the assessment of the extant regulatory framework and make recommendations to protect Indian investors against market volatility. The Justice Sapre panel will be provided assistance by the Centre and other statutory agencies, including the SEBI chairperson.

Earlier, on February 10, the apex court had expressed concern over the Adani Group's stock rout and directed the Centre to consider setting up a panel of domain experts headed by a former judge to strengthen the regulatory mechanism. The Centre had agreed to the apex court's proposal to set up a committee, which would be headed by a former Supreme Court judge, to look into the regulatory regimes.

Four PILs have been filed in the top court on the issue by lawyers M.L. Sharma and Vishal Tiwari, Congress leader Jaya Thakur, and Mukesh Kumar, who claims to be a social activist. The Adani Group has refuted the allegations made by Hindenburg Research, stating that it complies with all laws and disclosure requirements.
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