Separately, the Bombay High Court has deferred hearing on a case filed by SEBI against a CIC order that asked the regulator to disclose details of an insider-trading case involving Reliance Petroleum, prior to its merger with Reliance Industries
Mumbai: The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has postponed hearing to 21st February on the petition filed by Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) against market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)'s rejection of its plea for consent settlement, reports PTI.
Earlier SAT had adjourned the case to 24th January, after the regulator sought more time to prepare its defence.
When contacted, an RIL official also said the hearing has been postponed to 21st February.
At the last SAT hearing on 11th January, SEBI lawyer Shiraz Rustomjee had said that the regulator had received the RIL petition only on 10th January and that it did not get time to study the same.
The SAT is being presided over by member PK Malhotra.
Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court has deferred hearing on a case filed by SEBI against a Central Information Commission (CIC) order that asked the regulator to disclose the details of an insider-trading case involving Reliance Petroleum prior to its merger with Reliance Industries.
A division bench of Justices SZ Vajifdar and Mridula Bhatkar was informed that Reliance had already moved the Delhi High Court challenging the CIC order which is slated for hearing on 30th January.
The Delhi High Court had earlier granted interim stay on the order. Following this, the Bombay High Court adjourned hearing into SEBI's petition till 21st February.
At the last SAT hearing, Rustomjee had also challenged the maintainability of the RIL petition, saying it was a non-starter and that under the consent procedure, appeals were not contemplated and therefore, the tribunal should decide whether to admit the petition at all.
Janak Dwarkadas, representing RIL, had said his client had to go into an appeal as it felt that SEBI had acted in a discriminatory manner in the case.
Reliance Industries had sought to settle certain investigations into alleged violation of insider-trading norms in sale of shares of its erstwhile subsidiary Reliance Petroleum in 2007, but the application to settle the matter under SEBI's consent framework was rejected by SEBI.
Consequently, RIL filed an appeal before the SAT.
RIL's appeal against SEBI was earlier scheduled to be heard by SAT on 4th January, but was adjourned to 11th January.
RIL is believed to have challenged SEBI's decision to reject its application and also the recent changes made by SEBI in the regulations governing settlement of cases through the consent mechanism--especially for cases already under consideration.
Under SEBI's consent mechanism, companies can seek to settle cases with the market regulator after payment of certain charges and disgorgement of any ill-gotten gains.
In May 2012, SEBI tightened the regulations for settlement through consent framework, as a result of which many cases including those related to insider-trading, cannot be settled through this mechanism.
On 3rd January, SEBI published a list of 149 consent pleas, including 16 from entities related to RIL group, which it had found unsuitable for settlement through consent process. These include applications of RIL itself and that of RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani's close aide Manoj Modi.
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