Adani-Hindenburg Row: Petitioner opposes SEBI plea for Extension, Auditor Resigns

A Petitioner opposed SEBI's plea seeking an extension to complete its investigation and auditor resigned.

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petitioner has opposed the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI) plea to the Supreme Court seeking a six-month extension to complete its investigation into allegations of stock price manipulation by the Adani group and lapses in regulatory disclosure.

The petitioner argued that SEBI has already had enough time to inspect, examine, collect, and seize relevant documents and that extending the probe would prolong the matter and cause inordinate delay. Moreover, he raised concerns that further delay may allow the various corporate entities under investigation to manipulate data and figures, tampering with evidence in different shapes and modes.

The Supreme Court on March 2 ordered SEBI to look into the matter within two months and set up a panel to investigate the protection of Indian investors. SEBI recently applied with the Supreme Court to take another six months to identify possible irregularities related to false financial statements, circumvention of regulations and/or fraudulent transactions.

However, the petitioner opposed the plea, arguing that SEBI is trying to make the investigation process endless. The SEBI has said that 12 suspicious transactions are complex and have many sub-transactions. A rigorous investigation would require collating data from various sources and detailed analysis, including verification of submissions made by the companies.

Meanwhile, a small Ahmedabad-based chartered accountancy firm has resigned as the statutory auditor of Adani Total Gas. The firm had been appointed as the independent auditor at group flagship Adani Enterprises and Adani Total Gas for a five-year term at the annual shareholders’ meeting in 2022.

However, US short-seller Hindenburg Research had questioned the appointment, arguing that the firm was run by rookie auditors and lacked the experience to handle such a massive mandate as it had only four partners and 11 employees and operated out of a tiny rented apartment.

Shares of Adani Group have dealt a severe blow to exchanges after Hindenburg Research filed a barrage of allegations against the conglomerate, including fraudulent trading and price manipulation. Adani Group denies the allegations are lies and claims it complies with all legal and disclosure requirements.

Get Daily Prediction & Stocks Tips On Your Mobile