Securities Appellate Tribunal adjourns RIL-Sebi case

The Securities Appellate Tribunal on Friday adjourned the hearing on the appeal by Reliance Industries (RIL) against the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) till January 24 after the market regulator sought more time from SAT to study the RIL petition in a case relating to insider trading in erstwhile Reliance Petroleum shares.

RIL had sought to settle certain investigations into alleged violation of insider trading norms, but the application to settle of the matter under Sebi's consent framework was rejected by the regulator. RIL then filed an appeal before the SAT. Sebi has even challenged the maintainability of the appeal. RIL has moved the tribunal after the Sebi rejected its consent application.

Senior counsel Janak Dwarkadas, representing RIL, said that the company was forced to file an appeal at SAT after the Sebi acted in a "discriminatory" manner while deciding on the consent application filed by the company. This was, however, contested by Sebi lawyer Shiraz Rustomjee who said that the RIL plea is a "non-starter" as appeals are not contemplated under the consent mechanism. Further, the Sebi counsel said that the regulator received the RIL petition late evening on Thursday and so sought time to study it, which was accepted by SAT member PK Malhotra, who is currently officiating as the presiding officer.

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