The Bombay High Court has disposed of a plea filed by market regulator the Securities and Exchange Board of India against Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) in an insider trading case relating to oil and gas major Reliance Industries.
Rejecting the petition of SEBI, a division bench comprising Justice S.J. Vazifdar and Justice Mridula Bhatkar, observed that the plea does not stand as the Delhi High Court has already set aside the CIC order.
According to legal experts, CIC will have to issue fresh notices to every party involved in the case.
Dayal Associates, partner representing RIL, refused to provide any comments.
CIC is an apex body, which monitors the enforcement of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The Delhi High Court on January 31, in a ruling, had annulled the CIC order, which directed SEBI to disclose the names, stating that it should have given RIL an opportunity to present its case.
It further directed CIC to issue fresh notices to RIL and petitioner, Arun Agarwal. CIC’s order came after an RTI application filed by Bangalore-based activist lawyer Arun Agarwal.
However, SEBI had argued that the CIC cannot force it to disclose the details of the investigation before the final order has been issued.
On last November 22, SEBI had filed a petition against CIC after it asked the former to disclose the names of individuals and entities involved in an alleged insider-trading trading by RIL in the shares of erstwhile Reliance Petroleum in 2007.
The case deals with short-selling of shares of Reliance Power on behalf of RIL, ahead of their merger, which resulted in both the entities making alleged profits worth Rs 500 crore.
However, SEBI was against disclosing the identities of the entities under the scanner as the probe was under process and any such disclosure could impact the investigation.
Meanwhile, Mukesh Ambani-owned RIL and the market regulator had been trying to resolve the case through a consent process, similar to an out-of-court settlement.