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RIL-SEBI case on Insider trading charges adjourned by SAT till January 24

The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has given some more time to SEBI to reply to the petition filed by Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) on the issue of the show cause notice sent by the market regulator to them. SAT has adjourned the hearing on RIL™s plea till January 24 for admission.

RIL had earlier filed a petition with the tribunal, thereby challenging SEBI™s denial of inspections of documents, after it had issued a show cause order to RIL in an insider trading charge. The largest privately held company in India had also argued that SEBI was rejecting the consent mechanism route after having agreed to it.

Mr. P K Malhotra, SAT™s presiding officer, has asked whether SEBI™s refusal to settle the case outside of court, through the consent mechanism, maintainable in the tribunal or not. SEBI™s Legal Counsel Mr. Shiraz Rustomjee had said that the regulator had received the petition late (Monday evening) and therefore needed time to study the same. He has in turn, also challenged the maintainability of RIL™s petition in this case. He said that under the consent procedures, appeals cannot be contemplated and therefore, SAT must decide whether they wanted to admit the petition in the first place.

RIL™s Senior Lawyer Mr. Janak Dwarkadas, who is representing RIL in this matter, said that SEBI had acted in a discriminatory manner and hence the appeal was filed.

SAT feels that the consent order concept is actually without any prejudice to the ongoing legal proceedings.

This is the third time that Securities and Exchange Board of India has rejected an out-of-court settlement attempt by RIL. In addition to the insider trading charges sent earlier, a supplementary show-cause notice was also issued by SEBI in which it incorporated some new findings on this same case.

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