Adani-Hindenburg Report| Supreme Court grants 3 months extension to SEBI for completing probe

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 The Supreme Court had earlier directed the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to submit an overall report on the situation after, on January 24, a US-based investment research firm named Hindenburg Research published a report titled 'Adani Group: How The World’s 3rd Richest Man Is Pulling The Largest Con In Corporate History', making allegations against the conglomerate, saying that the group has been involved 'in a brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades.' 

The Supreme Court today granted Securities and Exchange Board of India's (SEBI) an extension of 3 months to complete its investigation into the Adani-Hindenburg Report issue.

Originally, SEBI had moved an application seeking an extension of 6 months to complete its investigation into the issue.

"SEBI is granted an extension till August 14, 2023 to submit its report", ordered a bench comprising CJI Chandrachud with Justices Narasimha and Pardiwala.

Last Friday, the Expert Committee headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice AM Sapre, constituted by the Supreme Court, to review the regulatory mechanism, had submitted its report.

Noting the same, the court ordered today, "Expert Committee has submitted its report within the two months timeline. The proceedings shall be listed after recess on July 11. Expert committee is requested to further advise the court. The committee may take up further aspects as may be suggested, following the course of deliberations by the court. Copies of this report shall be made available to the counsels. Registry shall take steps accordingly."

When Solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for SEBI, told court that the 6 months that they had asked for was a compressed time period, CJI said,

"We already gave you two months, now we are giving you three more months, that makes it five months. You tell us by August 15 the updated report and we may give you time till September 30, if required."

SG Mehta also refuted Advocate Prashant Bhushan's submission that the investigations done by SEBI in the past into Adani should be placed on record and said, " I am on the present facts. 2016 issue is something totally different, distinct and separate. They want that whatever proceedings were undertaken should be placed before court. That is not the remit but I have no problem in doing so...My learned friend wants a roving enquiry, that is not the remit of the position. 6 months is the compressed time period.. this is my note, I will file it verbatim before Court..".

Notably, a batch of petitions seeking an investigation against US-based Hindenburg Research and others seeking an investigation against Adani Group over allegations made by Hindenburg Research were filed in February. 

On February 17, the top court had reserved its order in these batch while observing that it was inclined to maintain 'full transparency' in the matter.

It may be noted that recently, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had submitted his apprehension before the Supreme Court appointing an expert committee to look into the Hindenburg Report.

"Existing agencies are fully equipped. However, responding to your lordships suggestions, we have no objection in constituting a committee. The only thing is, we don't want to send a message that a government agency needs to be overseen by a committee...", the SG had submitted before a CJI Chandrachud-led bench.

Case Title: Vishal Tiwari vs. Union of India & Other Connected Matters