The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) on Thursday said SEBI’s proceedings against Punit Goenka in the matter related to Zee appears to be a witch-hunt because some of the investigations carried out by the regulator may not be relevant. The Tribunal also asked SEBI if it will be able to complete the investigations in eight months or if the regulator will seek more time.

Earlier, in a hearing on August 30, SAT had expressed unhappiness with the amount of time taken by SEBI for the investigation. SAT will continue to hear the case on September 27.

On Thursday, SEBI’s legal representative Darius Khambata told the tribunal that the investigation is set to be completed in eight months, but he will get an updated status from the regulator and apprise the court.

Exhaustive probe

Khambata also allayed fears of the tribunal about the investigations stating that an exhaustive investigation was required in the case. He argued that Punit Goenka did not explain how the funds moved between Zee and associate entities.

In the order released on August 14, SEBI confirmed that Goenka along with his father Subhash Chandra shall not hold the position of a Director or a KMP in ZEEL or any of its subsidiaries, while SEBI completes its investigation on the matter. The order by the capital markets regulator came on the back of an investigation into allegations related to the appropriation of certain fixed deposits of Zee by Yes Bank for squaring off loans of related entities of Essel Group.  

Khambata while citing SEBI’sconfirmatory order argued that the associate entities did not have funds equivalent to the amount that was appropriated by Yes Bank by liquidating ZEEL’s fixed deposit of ₹200 crore.