• Tuesday, March 05, 2024

Business

Indian regulator seeks more time for Adani probe

Shares of group companies slid after Deloitte resigned as auditor of Adani Ports

Chairperson of Indian conglomerate Adani Group, Gautam Adani.(Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

INDIA’S market regulator on Monday (14) sought 15 more days to complete a probe into conglomerate Adani’s dealings with some offshore entities, while shares in the group’s firms slid after the surprise exit of a key business unit’s auditor.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), due to submit its report on Monday, said it has completed looking into 17 out of the 24 transactions it had taken up for investigation.

The regulator, in a filing to the Supreme Court, said it made substantial progress in the investigations but due to pending probes on certain transactions, it would be in the ‘interest of justice’ to get more time to file the final report.

The group’s listed companies lost more than $100 billion in market value earlier this year after US-based Hindenburg Research raised several governance concerns. The group has denied wrongdoing.

Following this, the Supreme Court asked SEBI to look into the allegations made and submit its findings to a six-member panel formed in March, which included a retired judge and veteran bankers.

Shares of Adani group companies slid on Monday after Deloitte resigned as auditor of Adani Ports, the first such move at the Gautam Adani-led conglomerate since Hindenburg’s report on the company in January.

Adani Ports said Deloitte, which does not audit any of the other six listed Adani group companies, had all the necessary information and its reason to quit was “not convincing.”

Reuters has reached out to the Adani group for comment on the court development.

SEBI, in its filing, did not detail the transactions under investigation or the nature of any possible violations.

Of the seven transactions where investigations are under way, in four “findings have been crystalised and the reports prepared”, SEBI said.

It said it has sought more information from other regulators and foreign jurisdictions to plan a further course of action.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case on August 29.

The court-appointed panel in May said the regulator had so far drawn a blank in its investigations and its ongoing pursuit of the case is a “journey without a destination” but gave the regulator more time to complete its probe.

The panel had also questioned whether SEBI’s revised rules for reporting beneficial owners of offshore funds had hurt its own probe. But the regulator, in a filing in July, had defended its rules.

(Reuters)

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