The Supreme Court on Friday suggested the formation of a panel of experts, including a judge, to examine the fallout of the fraud allegations against the Adani Group, which have wiped out crores in investor wealth and triggered fierce attacks on the government by the opposition.
Hearing a petition that called for the Supreme Court’s intervention in the row, Chief Justice DY Chandrachud observed, “Do we intervene and have a mechanism to ensure this doesn’t happen again? We do not want to get into policy matters. That is for the government.”
“We have suggested an expert committee for the overall situation and examination if the Government of India is interested in this exercise,” he said, calling for the inclusion of a judge and domain experts.
“We have indicated to the Solicitor General, the concern about the regulatory process and [to see that] Indian investors are protected over the incident in the last two weeks,” the Chief Justice said, requesting “a brief note on the factual and regulatory situation”.
“Solicitor General says SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) is doing everything to keep a watch. We are not casting aspersions on any regulatory framework. We are having a dialogue on this aspect,” Justice Chandrachud said.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that he would come back on Monday with a proposal after consulting the SEBI, the finance and other ministries. “The SEBI is looking at the issue from a regulatory perspective,” he said.
The ports-to-energy Adani Group – controlled by billionaire Gautam Adani, one of the world’s richest people – has seen shares in its seven companies lose more than $100 billion in market value since the January 24 report by US-based short-seller Hindenburg Research, which accused it of improper use of offshore tax havens and stock manipulation.
Adani has denied the charges, calling it a “maliciously mischievous” reputational attack. Last week, the group’s flagship entity Adani Enterprises pulled its secondary share offering, India’s largest ever, because of the sharp sell-off.