A lawyer walks briskly inside the Supreme Court premises in New Delhi, India, Oct 13, 2022. (PHOTO / AP)
NEW DELHI – India's top court on Thursday asked market regulator SEBI to investigate Adani Group for any lapses related to public shareholding norms or regulatory disclosures.
SEBI is already examining a Jan 24 report by US short seller Hindenburg Research which alleged the Adani Group improperly used offshore tax havens and manipulated stocks.
Seven listed Adani Group companies have since lost about $135 billion in value despite Adani Group denying any wrongdoing.
Hindenburg Research has alleged that overseas entities and shell companies were tied to Adani Group and "surreptitiously" owned stock in its listed firms, violating India's rules on public shareholdings
ALSO READ: 'Adani to repay up to $790m share-backed loans by March'
The Supreme Court asked SEBI to check "whether there has been a failure to disclose transactions with related parties", "whether there was any manipulation of stock prices" and whether public shareholding rules have been violated.
Hindenburg Research has alleged that overseas entities and shell companies were tied to Adani Group and "surreptitiously" owned stock in its listed firms, violating India's rules on public shareholdings.
It also had identified numerous "undisclosed related party transactions" by both listed and private Adani companies.
Adani in response said "all related party transactions are at arm's length, properly disclosed".
READ MORE: Indian truckers say Hindenburg report a godsend in Adani dispute
The Supreme Court ruling was announced by a three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, which heard several public-interest litigations on losses investors have suffered.
Billionaire Gautam Adani welcomed the Supreme Court order.
"It will bring finality in a time bound manner. Truth will prevail," he said in a post on Twitter.
The court also formed a panel to be headed by a retired Supreme Court judge to examine how investor protection mechanisms can be strengthened.
ALSO READ: India's BJP slams Soros for saying Adani's troubles will weaken Modi
The six-member panel, which is due to report back within two months, will include former chairman of State Bank of India OP Bhatt and prominent banker KV Kamath.
Adani has sought to calm investors and this week held a fixed-income roadshow in Singapore and Hong Kong. The group, according to sources, has told creditors it has secured a $3 billion loan from a sovereign wealth fund.