The Securities and Exchange Board of India has challenged in the Bombay high court an order of the Central Information Commission under the Right to Information Act (RTI) to disclose action taken by it on a complaint against Reliance Industries Ltd in the year 2000 on the sale of 12 crore shares for the benefit of its promoters.
The order was given by the CIC, the appellate authority under RTI, on a complaint by S Gurumurthy of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch ''regarding the allotment of shares to the promoters of RIL through preferential allotment to 34 Ambani companies'' sought by RTI applicant Arun Kumar Agrawal.
SEBI had earlier told CIC that prosecution and adjudication proceedings had to be implemented in the matter, and disclosure at this stage would affect the process adversely.
But the CIC disagreed. ''It is admitted by the respondents that the investigation in the matter referred to by the appellant is decidedly over. In the face of it, the claim that its disclosure would impede the process of investigation becomes untenable," the CIC had held.
After nine years of probing, SEBI had sought the views of retired judge B N Srikrishna on its report. The CIC had also directed SEBI to disclose the opinions, findings and recommendations by justice Srikrishna on the report and all file notings on the issue.
SEBI has now filed a petition in the Bombay high court challenging the order. The hearing is on 10 January.