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SAT adjourns RIL plea against Sebi till Jan 24

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SummaryThe Securities Appellate Tribunal has adjourned the hearing of an appeal filed by Reliance Industries until January 24 after the capital market regulator sought some more time to file its reply.

The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has adjourned the hearing of an appeal filed by Reliance Industries (RIL) until January 24 after the capital market regulator sought some more time to file its reply.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has even challenged the maintainability of the appeal.

RIL — the country's largest listed entity — moved the tribunal after Sebi rejected its consent application to settle an insider trading matter. The Mukesh Ambani-controlled company also challenged Sebi’s refusal to provide documents based on which a show-cause notice was issued to the company.

Senior counsel Janak Dwarkadas, representing RIL, said that the company was forced to file an appeal at SAT after Sebi acted in a “discriminatory” manner while deciding on the consent application filed by the company.

This was, however, contested by Sebi lawyer Shiraz Rustomjee who said that the RIL plea is a “non-starter” as appeals are not contemplated under the consent mechanism and, hence, the tribunal should decide if the appeal is fit to be admitted.

Further, the Sebi counsel said the regulator received the RIL petition late evening on Thursday and so sought time to study it, which was accepted by SAT member P K Malhotra, who is currently officiating as presiding officer.

RIL has been trying to settle the matter through the consent route with reports suggesting that the company proposed settlement terms on three occasions with Sebi refusing to accept any of those.

Reports further suggest that the Sebi probe has revealed that RIL made gains of nearly Rs 500 crore through sale of shares in erstwhile Reliance Petroleum (RPL), pegging the total charges for consent settlement at nearly three times of this amount as per earlier consent regulations.

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