The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) on Friday adjourned the hearing on Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) plea against SEBI in the insider trading case, for the fourth time in a row, to July 22 as the company sought more time to file its response.
The Reliance Industries counsel Janak Dwarakadas informed the SAT presiding officer Jog Singh that they could not file the reply as the company’s appointed person could not prepare the papers as his father was hospitalised.
The SEBI counsel noted that the continuous adjournments that the company is seeking will further delay the ongoing adjudication process into the case.
The matter was last heard by SAT on February 21, when the Tribunal sought time to study the application, which SEBI terms as “not maintainable.” Since then RIL has been seeking adjournment. The case was then adjourned in March, April and May and on Friday as well.
The Tribunal head told the RIL counsel that before the next hearing, slated for July 22 and which will be the final hearing, the company should file its response, failing which it would not entertain the reply.
The case relates to RIL’s appeal against market regulator SEBI in a case related to alleged violation of insider trading norms in sale of shares of its erstwhile subsidiary RPL in 2007.
RIL had approached SAT against SEBI after its application to settle the matter through a ‘consent mechanism’ was rejected by the regulator.
Under SEBI’s consent mechanism, companies can seek to settle cases with the market regulator after payment of certain charges and disgorgement of any ill-gotten gains.
RIL has challenged SEBI’s decision and also the recent changes made by the regulator in regulations governing settlement of cases through the consent mechanism, especially those already under consideration.
In May 2012, SEBI had tightened the norms for settlement through consent framework. As a result, many cases, including those related to insider trading, are not being settled through this mechanism.
On January 3 this year, the SEBI had published a list of 149 consent pleas, including 16 from entities related to RIL group, which it had found unsuitable for settlement through consent process.
These include applications of RIL itself and that of RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani’s close aide Manoj Modi.