Probe GACL-ACC Case Again, SAT Tells Sebi

Mumbai, October 25: | Updated: Oct 26 2002, 05:30am hrs
In a major ruling which can have wide reaching implications not only to investors, but also set a precendent for the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), the Securities and Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has asked Sebi to properly investigate the issue of control when Gujarat Ambuja Cements Ltd (GACL) acquired ACC from the Tata group.

However, SAT also disposed off an appeal filed by small investors saying that while calculating the stake acquired by GACL, the holding by a notified party the late Harshad Mehta be excluded from the equity base.

Said the SAT presiding officer in his order: It was incumbent on Sebi to make a detailed investigation and decide the issue instead of disposing of the complaint in an adjudication style. It appears that no serious efforts were made to find out so as to whether control has been exercised in any other manner reffered to in the Sebi Takeover regulations. It appears (that the Sebi ruling) was mainly guided by the test that the Tatas had no right to appoint majority of directors as per the Articles of Association and that their shareholding was not sizeable.

The order further stated: Control may be exercised in various ways and is not possible to comprehend all various forms or modes which may be adopted for the purpose. I think the object of the Sebi Act and the Takeover regulations would materially be frustrated if one resorts to a narrow interpretation of thr concepts of control.