Share acquisition case: SC directs Sebi to give RIL access to documents

Insight Online News

New Delhi, Aug 5 : In a big relief for Reliance Industries, the Supreme Court on Friday directed the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) to allow the company access to certain documents in a case connected with the acquisition of RIL shares between 1994-2000.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana allowed respondents to furnish reports as sought.

The top court said: “SEBI as a regulator has a duty to act fairly. It is not to circumvent rule of law and has to show fairness.”

Reliance Industries had moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Sebi to allow it access to certain documents, which it thinks will absolve it and its promoters from criminal prosecution by the regulator. The matter is connected with the acquisition of RIL shares between 1994-2000.

RIL believes these documents would negate allegations of wrongdoing in the acquisition of shares. Also, these documents will have a major bearing on the criminal case being filed by Sebi. And, it will also exonerate it and its 108 promoters in the case.

Sebi had alleged that RIL along with Reliance Petroleum had circuitously funded the acquisition of its own shares in violation of the Sections 77 and 77A of the Companies Act, 1956. Sebi had submitted that RIL cannot assert its right to seek documents contrary to the binding judgment by the Bombay High Court and the procedure provided in Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) which will arise only after taking cognisance and issuing process u/s 208 of the CrPC.

RIL moved the top court against the Bombay High Court’s March 28 order, declining to grant any relief to access material gathered by the regulator.


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