The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) today adjourned its hearing till June 14 on Reliance Industries’ appeal against SEBI and asked the two parties to make written submissions in the meantime, in a case involving the market regulator’s consent settlement mechanism.
RIL has filed a petition before SAT against SEBI’s rejection of its application for ‘consent settlement’ of a probe into alleged violation of insider trading norms in sale of shares of the company’s erstwhile subsidiary Reliance Petroleum.
After hearing the matter, SAT asked SEBI to file its reply on RIL’s appeal within four weeks. The Tribunal also asked RIL to file its rejoinder to SEBI’s submission within the subsequent four weeks and posted its further hearing in the matter for June 14.
While SEBI opposed RIL’s plea saying that it is up to the regulator itself to decide on acceptance or rejection of a consent application, SAT said it is seeking written submissions from both the parties as it is hearing such a case for the first time.
The case was last heard by the SAT on March 14, when the matter was adjourned till April 8.
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.
Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd had approached SAT after its application to settle the matter through a ‘consent mechanism’ was rejected by SEBI.
RIL has challenged SEBI’s decision to reject its plea and also the changes made by the regulator last year 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, SEBI 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.