This Article is From Mar 04, 2023

Adani Row: Top Lawyer Harish Salve Says Probe Must Be Time-Bound

Harish Salve also praised the panel that has been appointed by the Supreme Court to look into the controversy.

Harish Salve spoke to NDTV in an exclusive interview.

New Delhi:

Senior lawyer Harish Salve has said the investigation into US short-seller Hindenburg Research's report that dragged down Adani group stocks must be completed in a time-bound manner.

"It is critical (this investigation is time-bound) because investors' confidence is fragile. Today, whether true or false, investor sentiment has been damaged by such occurrences of market volatility and to build it back we need to know quickly what exactly happened," he told NDTV in an interview.

He also praised the panel that has been appointed by the Supreme Court to look into the controversy, saying, "This is a very specialised field. [Retired Supreme Court Judge] Justice [AM] Sapre brings an experience - he has been a commercial lawyer, we have worked together... He was in the SAT (Securities Appellate Tribunal). So is [lawyer] Somasekharan Sundaresan. He knows the subject. He knows this law better than most lawyers do. He can teach me this law. He is that good."

The Supreme Court on Thursday set up a six-member committee of experts to examine issues arising out of the Adani Group's stock crash triggered by Hindenburg's allegations.

The committee, headed by retired judge Abhay Manohar Sapre, will include veteran banker KV Kamath, former SEBI chief OP Bhat, Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani, lawyer Somasekhar Sunderesan (whose appointment as a judge is pending with the Centre), and retired Justice Justice JP Devdhar.

The committee will make an overall assessment of the situation, suggest measures to make investors more aware and suggest measures to strengthen existing regulatory measures for stock markets, said a bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud.

"The Adani Group welcomes the order of the Hon'ble Supreme Court. It will bring finality in a time-bound manner. Truth will prevail," tweeted billionaire Gautam Adani.

The Supreme Court also said the market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) should complete its ongoing investigation in two months and file a status report.

The Supreme Court was hearing petitions asking for a committee to look into ways of strengthening the regulatory mechanisms for the stock market following the Adani group shares crash triggered by Hindenburg Research's fraud allegations.

The Supreme Court also directed SEBI to investigate whether there had been a violation of rules and whether there was any manipulation of stock prices.

SEBI in its note filed in the Supreme Court indicated that it is not in favour of banning short-selling or the sale of borrowed shares, and said it is investigating allegations made by a tiny short-seller against the Adani Group as well as its share price movements.

Adani Group stocks plunged after Hindenburg Research made a litany of allegations, including those of fraudulent transactions and share price manipulation, against the business conglomerate.

The Adani Group has dismissed the charges as lies, saying it complies with all laws and disclosure requirements.

The Supreme Court had reserved its order on February 17 and had refused to accept in a sealed cover the Centre's suggestion on the panel of experts.

(Disclaimer: New Delhi Television is a subsidiary of AMG Media Networks Limited, an Adani Group Company.)