HC to hear Sebi plea against CIC on Dec 3

Regulator has challenged information panel order on insider trading case against RIL

The Bombay High Court will hear a petition filed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) against the Central Information Commission (CIC) on December 3. Sebi has challenged the CIC's order for making certain disclosures in the insider trading matter against Reliance Industries (RIL).

The division bench, comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and Mridula Bhatkar, also noted the fact that RIL has filed a petition against CIC in the Delhi High Court, which has stayed the commission's order, while fixing the next date of hearing on January 30, 2013.

Late last week, the capital market watchdog filed a petition in the Bombay High Court after CIC directed it to disclose the names of the entities involved in the RIL insider trading matter.

The CIC direction came after Bangalore-based lawyer Arun Agrawal wanted Sebi to disclose the names of individuals, partners, directors and major shareholders (in case of companies) involved in the short sale of shares of Reliance Petroleum (later merged with RIL) in November 2007.

He had also sought the name of brokers through which the alleged short sales deal was routed.

Sebi is of the view that the investigations are still on and any such information revealed could hamper the probe. Sebi, in its petition, also highlighted the fact that the order was passed by chief information commissioner Satyananda Mishra and not the CIC panel as a whole.

"If, as a regulator, the Sebi took cognisance of allegations of any breach of law, rules or regulations by one or more entities for unlawful private gain, the information generated in the process of its investigation needs to be disclosed in the public domain," Mishra said in an order on November 6.

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