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Govt to take Sebi on RIL share issue `seriously`: Khurshid

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 16:18

New Delhi: The government on Tuesday said it would take "seriously" market regulator SEBI`S letter for appropriate action against Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) for alleged routing of funds to dummy companies for buying its own shares in 2000.

"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," Corporate Affairs Minister Samlam Khurshid said, but 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 Swadeshi
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
BN 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 percent 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 percent of the equity capital.


First Published: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 16:18

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