SAT posts RIL case against SEBI for 24 Jan

The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) in Mumbai today adjourned a hearing on the admission of an appeal filed by Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) against the Securities and Exchange Board of India in a case related to allegations of insider trading.
The hearing has been adjourned to 24 January after SEBI sought more time to prepare its case.

Reliance has challenged the show-cause notice issued by SEBI in December 2010 in an insider trading case on the grounds that it wasn't given adequate access to the documents on which the notice had been based.

Mukesh Ambani's RIL has also challenged the regulator taking the case out of the consent process, which allows for a settlement without the admission of any wrongdoing, after having initially agreed to it.

Lawyer for SEBI Shiraz Rustomjee said RIL's petition had been served on the regulator just the day before, not giving it enough time to prepare arguments.

The SAT presiding officer P K Malhotra asked whether refusal by SEBI to settle the case through consent is maintainable in the tribunal. SAT says a consent order concept is without prejudice to the legal proceedings.

Rustomjee challenged the maintainability of the RIL petition, saying it is a non-starter and that under the consent procedure, appeals are not contemplated and hence SAT should decide whether to admit the petition at all.

Senior counsel Janak Dwarkadas, representing RIL in the matter, said it has had to go in appeal as it feels SEBI has acted in a discriminatory manner in the case.

Earlier, SEBI had rejected a third attempt by RIL, the country's largest private sector firm, for an out-of-court settlement of insider trading charges. The regulator has also issued a supplementary show-cause notice, incorporating new findings, to RIL on the same matter.