SAT Reserves Order on Zee Promoter Punit Goenka's Plea against SEBI Ruling
IANS 28 September 2023
The securities appellate tribunal (SAT) on Wednesday reserved its order on Zee Entertainment promoter Punit Goenka's plea against Securities and Exchange Board of India's (SEBI's) interim order restraining him from holding any key managerial position in listed entities due to alleged fund diversion.
SAT, reserving the order, directed the market regulator and Mr Goenka to file any written submissions, if any, within a week.
SEBI's counsel Darius Khambata told the tribunal that the market regulator will conclude its investigation on the five transactions by 30th November, and the rest will take time, if all parties cooperate. 
The national company law tribunal (NCLT) on 10th August gave its approval to the merger of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) and Culver Max Entertainment (earlier known as Sony Pictures Networks India).
But bunging in a monkey wrench, SEBI's confirmatory order, passed on 14th August  barred ZEEL promoters—Goenka and Subhash Chandra—from holding any directorship or other key managerial positions in the company and other organisations. 
Mr Khambata in his argument had said that the material gathered by the SEBI in the last four months indicated siphoning and round tripping of funds and investigations were ongoing. 
Counsels Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Navroz Seervai, representing ZEEL promoters, said that SEBI passed the confirmatory order without concluding the investigation and is based on pure speculation.
Mr Singhvi argued that Mr Goenka did not have any control over other Essel group companies. The decisions taken by other companies cannot result in an order which penalises Mr Goenka to be barred from being on the chair of the company.
“If the order is not set aside, there will be huge repercussions," the senior counsel pointed out. "Goenka’s involvement is merely on conjunctures, presumptions and hypotheses right from the start of the investigation," Mr Singhvi argued.
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