SEBI on Tuesday restrained Vedanta Executive Vice-Chairman Navin Agarwal and his daughter, Priya Agarwal, from dealing in securities for delay in payment of dividends to Cairn UK Holdings (CUHL).

The capital markets regulator also ordered Vedanta, earlier known as Cairn India (CIL), to pay ₹77.62 crore to the Edinburgh (Scotland)-based CUHL, which is now known as Capricorn UK Holdings.

The issue relates to CUHL’s April 13, 2017, complaint to SEBI alleging non-payment of dividend of around ₹340.65 crore by CIL, which merged with Vedanta on April 11, 2017. Vedanta Resources acquired Cairn Energy’s majority stake in its Indian arm Cairn India (CIL) in December 2011.

While Navin, who was CIL chairman, has been restrained from accessing the securities market for two months, Priya, who is a non-executive non-independent director on Vedanta’s board, has been restrained for a month.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) also barred then CIL whole-time director Tarun Jain, CEO Thomas Albanes, and CFO GR Arun Kumar from dealing in securities for two months.

Besides, then independent directors K Venkataramanan, Lalita D Gupte, Aman Mehta, Ravi Kant and Edward T Story have also been restrained from accessing the securities market or dealing in them for a month, beginning March 12, 2024.

“Noticee No. 1 (Vedanta) shall pay to CUHL ₹77,62,55,052 i.e. simple interest @ 18 per cent per annum for delayed payment of dividend, due and payable by Noticee No.1 to CUHL, within 45 days from the date of this order,” the regulator said in the order.

In case of failure to comply with the aforesaid direction, SEBI, on expiry of 45 days from the date of this order, may initiate appropriate action against the company, it added.

Vedanta in a March 12 filing with BSE said it is in the process of taking appropriate legal steps in respect to the SEBI order. However, the development has “no major financial impact” on the oil-to-iron ore conglomerate.

CIL, in its defence, had told the regulator that it had deposited unpaid dividend amount in a special account called unpaid dividend account and did not benefit from the unpaid dividend during April 1, 2016 to June 15, 2017.

However, the regulator said the “purpose of award of interest” is to compensate for the time value of money that the person was unlawfully deprived of his entitlement.

“The purpose of award of interest is not to eliminate enrichment of the wrong doer. Its purpose is to reflect loss caused to the claimant or person who has been wrongfully deprived of his entitlement,” it added.