NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Friday said there should be a robust mechanism to ensure that the interests of Indian investors are protected in the stock market and sought views of the Centre and market regulator SEBI on PILs alleging exploitation of innocent investors and “artificial crashing” of the Adani Group’s stock value.
A bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud sought inputs from the Finance Ministry and others on various issues, including on making the regulatory mechanism robust to protect the interests of investors in the market where capital flow is seamless in modern times.
The bench, also comprising justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala, suggested forming a committee of domain experts and others, besides putting in place “robust practices to protect investors”.
The Solicitor General, appearing for the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), said the market regulator and other statutory bodies were doing the needful.
The court said it was “just thinking aloud” and not making any observation on the merits of the case as “the stock markets usually run on sentiments”.
It then listed the two PILs, seeking various reliefs including a probe into the Hindenburg report, for hearing on February 13.
One of the PILs, filed by lawyer Vishal Tiwari, has sought a direction to the Centre to constitute a committee monitored by a retired apex court judge to inquire and investigate into the Hindenburg Research report which has made a slew of allegations against the business conglomerate led by industrialist Gautam Adani.
Another PIL, filed by advocate M L Sharma, seeks prosecution of short-seller Nathan Anderson of the US-based Hindenburg Research and his associates in India and the US for allegedly exploiting innocent investors and the “artificial crashing” of the Adani Group’s stock value in the market.
Sharma has sought directions for declaring short selling an offence of fraud against the investors, to be prosecutable under section 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), read with provisions of the SEBI Act.
Adani Group stocks have taken a beating on the bourses after the Hindenburg Research made a litany of allegations, including fraudulent transactions and share-price manipulation, against the business conglomerate.
The Adani Group has dismissed the charges as lies, saying it complies with all laws and disclosure requirements.