New Delhi, September 18
Alleging conflict of interest against members of an expert committee set up by the Supreme Court to probe into allegations of accounting fraud and stock price manipulation against the Adani Group in the Hindenburg report, a petitioner on Monday urged it to constitute a new expert panel to look into the allegations afresh.
“There is an apprehension that the present expert committee would fail to inspire confidence among the people of the country… It is therefore prayed, a fresh expert committee may be constituted by the court with experts from the field of finance, law and stock market with impeccable integrity, and who have no conflict of interest in the outcome of the instant matter,” petitioner Anamika Jaiswal submitted.
The top court is likely to hear the Adani-Hindenburg case on October 13.
Jaiswal – a law student – alleged that three members of the six-member expert committee were in situations of potential conflict of interest.
A three-judge Bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud had on March 2 set up a six-member expert committee headed by former Supreme Court judge AM Sapre to investigate if there had been regulatory failure in dealing with alleged contravention of laws pertaining to the securities market in relation to the Adani Group or other companies in the wake of the January 24 Hindenburg Research report.
Other members of the expert committee were – former SBI Chairman OP Bhat, former Bombay High Court Judge JP Devdutt, Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilakeni, former chief of the New Development Bank of BRICS KV Kamath and advocate Somasekharan Senderasan, who was recently recommended for appointment as a judge of the Bombay High Court.
Expert committee was set up by SC
- The petitioner claimed that former SBI chairman OP Bhatt, who is part of the six-member expert committee, is conflicted as he is also the head of renewable energy firm Greenko, which has commercial dealings with the Adani Group
- The CBI also examined Bhatt in March 2018 in a case of alleged wrongdoing in disbursing loans to the former liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who is accused of defrauding banks, including SBI, of $1.2 billion
- The petition also found faults with two other members of the committee — KV Kamath, who was ICICI Bank’s chairman during Videocon loan fraud case, and Somashekhar Sundaresan, a lawyer — who had represented Adani in various forums, including the SEBI Board
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