The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to interfere with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) probe into the Adani-Hindenburg case. In its verdict, the Supreme Court held that there was 'no ground to transfer the investigation from SEBI to SIT (Special Investigation Team)', saying the George Soros-led Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)'s report can't be the basis for doubting the Sebi report.
The Supreme Court was hearing a batch of petitions in the Adani-Hindenburg row over allegations of stock price manipulation by the Indian corporate giant.
A bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra delivered the judgment on as many as four petitions.
"The power of this court to enter the regulatory framework of Sebi is limited. There are no valid grounds raised to direct Sebi to revoke its amendments on Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPI) and Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements (LODR) regulations. The regulations do not suffer from any infirmities," the bench observed.
"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 three months," it said.
"The reliance on unsubstantiated news reports and third-party organisations cannot be accepted to doubt the probe by a statutory regulator," the court said.
It also rejected the arguments of petitioners regarding conflict of interest on the part of the members of the Expert Committee.
However, it was added that the government and Sebi should take into consideration the recommendations of the committee to strengthen the interest of the Indian investors.
"The government of India and the Sebi should look into whether there is any infraction of law in the Hindenburg report on short selling and if so, take action in accordance with law," the court added.
On a parting note, the Supreme Court issued a word of caution against lawyers filing PILs without adequate research and relying on unverified reports.
The judgment on the PILs, filed by lawyers Vishal Tiwari, ML Sharma and Congress leader Jaya Thakur, and Anamika Jaiswal, was reserved on November 24 last year.
The pleas claimed the allegations that the Adani Group, considered close to the Modi government, inflated its share prices and, after the report of the short seller Hindenburg Research, the share value of various group entities fell sharply.