SAT asks Sebi, RIL to clarify impact of new consent norms

Tags: RIL, SAT, SEBI, Companies
The Securities Appellate Tribunal today sought clarifications from market watchdog Sebi and Reliance Industries

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on how new consent settlement norms would affect the ongoing case between the regulator and the company.

The tribunal, which had concluded its hearings on two petitions from RIL on January 6 and reserved its order for an unspecified date, set February 24 for the next hearing.

Since Sebi notified the new consent norms on January 9, after issuing the draft consent norms in May 2012, SAT today sought clarifications from the regulator and RIL on the effects of the guidelines on the ongoing case involving the two.

"Before we pronounce the order, we would like to know whether the RIL appeal will hold since new Sebi regulations are retrospective in nature," SAT presiding officer J P Devdhar said, giving time until February 24 to reply.

SAT has been hearing a seven-year-old case of alleged insider trading arising from the merger of Reliance Petroleum (RPL) with RIL back in 2007.

Sebi notified a stricter set of consent norms that exclude settlement of serious offences such as insider trading, front-running, violations of listing disclosure norms and illegal pooling of money, among others.

The new norms are retrospective and apply to all cases from April 20, 2007. Sebi also excluded all pending cases from the consent settlement process and made it mandatory for an affected party to file for consent within 60 days of receiving a Sebi show-cause notice.

Earlier, senior RIL counsel Janak Dwarkadas requested SAT to fix a timetable for hearing RIL's consent application by Sebi once again, which the regulator rejected.

According to him, Sebi was wrong in saying RIL's application could not be dealt with under the consent mechanism as the company had been clearly told on April 15, 2011, that it could apply for a settlement through consent.

Sebi senior lawyer Darius Khambata maintained the regulator could not be compelled to settle a case through consent.

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