Noted legal expert Mukul Rohatgi has welcomed the Supreme Court’s move to appoint a committee to look into the issues linked to Hindenburg-Adani row, which has wiped out hundreds of crores in investors’ money. The Congress has slammed the decision, insisting that a Joint Parliamentary Committee is the way to go in this matter. The Trinamool Congress, Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena and Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party have expressed support for the court’s decision.
Adani Group chief Gautam Adani has already lauded the top court’s initiative, tweeting that “truth will triumph”. Mr Rohatgi expressed concern that the formation of a Joint Parliamentary Committee will only lead to a “political slugfest”.
“Rather than having a Joint Parliamentary Committee and making it a political slugfest, the idea is to look at what are the problems in the system and plug the loopholes,” Mukul Rohatgi told NDTV in an exclusive interview.
The shares of the Adani conglomerate nosedived last month after US-based short selling firm Hindenburg Research alleged a financial fraud and stocks manipulation. The Adani Group has strongly refuted the allegations, calling Hindenburg’s report a “calculated attack” on India.
Earlier on Thursday, the Supreme Court set up a six-member panel to look into regulatory mechanisms to protect investors’ interest. The committee, headed by retired judge Abhay Manohar Sapre, will include veteran bankers KV Kamath and OP Bhat, Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani, and retired Justice JP Devdhar
“I think it is appropriate not because of Mr Adani, but because there are millions of share and bond holders, who back particular big businesses. If they have suffered, the court’s concern is quite justified,” Mr Rohatgi said.
The selection of names is “par excellence” and the remit of the committee is “wide and sweeping,” Mr Rohatgi said. “It is the right thing to instill confidence in the market and people who are in the market,” he added.
The committee is expected to make an overall assessment of the situation, suggest measures to make investors more aware and help strengthen existing regulatory measures for stock markets, the bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud has said.
The investigation by market regulator SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) will run alongside and should be completed within two months, the court said.
Senior lawyer Raian Karanjawala, who represents the Adani Group in several cases, also hailed the formation of the committee.
“It is an excellent decision. The committee meets all the standards that any committee could have met. It has people with high international credentials. The Supreme Court couldn’t have chosen a better committee,” he said.
He added that he expects it to be an “action-oriented committee” which will give its recommendations “in a forthright matter”. “Some part of it might be made public too. People’s expectations will be met,” he added.
The opposition has been divided over the matter of the committee, with the Trinamool Congress, Uddhav Thackeray and Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party lauding the Supreme Court’s decision. On the other side are the Congress and its ally DMK. The Left parties are in a wait and watch mode.
The matter had stalled parliament repeatedly during the budget session, with Opposition parties demanding a probe by the Joint Parliamentary Committee.
The Congress has planned nationwide protests the day parliament resumes.