Govt asks SEBI for more details on RIL case
New Delhi: The government on Tuesday asked SEBI to furnish more details on the investigation it had done in the case of RIL allegedly routing funds to dummy companies for buying its own shares in 2000.
"We have said that this is an old case which they (SEBI) should have apparently investigated. What is the outcome of the investigation, we really would like to know. Tell us the benefit of the report on the investigation in order to apply our mind on it," Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told PTI.
"We have asked if they (SEBI) have more material on it (RIL), they can provide it to us. All I can say is it was very inadequate material for us to act upon," he said.
"It`s not clear when it is the matter of securities, should it not be SEBI who should look at it. Also, when Justice Srikrishna has given his opinion, what took them six months to refer it to us. We have sought all this clarity," he said.
Earlier in the day, he told reporters that "Sebi`s letter has to be taken seriously... The government does not want to anticipate anything. If Sebi has taken nine years, let us take at least nine days". He, however, cautioned that nobody would be allowed to "dig old graves".
Asked for his comments on Sebi`s communication to the Ministry earlier this month, he told reporters, "The regulator will do its work. If anybody tries to exert pressure, we will not work under pressure".
Sebi was probing a complaint by S Gurumurthy of Swadesh Jagran Manch alleging that RIL and its investors lost at least Rs 2,700 crore in issuance of shares at a much lower price than what was allocated to the state-owned UTI.
After taking the opinion of retired Supreme Court Justice B N Srikrishna on its own investigation report, Sebi had asked the Ministry to take "appropriate action" against RIL for sale of 12 crore shares, representing over 11 per cent of total equity, through this route.
"If anybody tries to do post mortem by digging old graves, then we will rather focus on the work forward than engage in post mortem," Khurshid said, adding that RIL had been demerged since then.
The Reliance empire was divided in 2005 as part of a settlement between the warring Ambani brothers Mukesh and Anil and the case relates to the time when father Dhirubhai was at the helm of affairs.
"I don`t want to anticipate or say something... this is not a policy decision. There are officials to look after these things," he said, when asked about the allegations that the sale of 12 crore shares was done for the benefit of promoters.
Sebi, in its letter to the Corporate Affairs Ministry, had said that the matter of "irregular issue of privately placed debenture (PPD) IV and V by RIL" are being referred for "consideration and appropriate action."
Gurumurthy, in his complaint, had alleged that the core of the fraud was the criminal misappropriation amounting to virtual smuggling out of RIL (through non convertible debentures) of 12 crore shares of the company in 2000 representing 11.38 per cent of the equity capital.
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