Is Sebi move to seek foreign fund details PR exercise, asks Jairam Ramesh

New Delhi (IANS) The Congress on Thursday once again targeted Sebi over its probe into the Hindenburg-Adani Group case after the market regulator asked for details of financial institutions owning certain foreign funds, questioning whether it is another gesture to exonerate the Adani Group.

In a tweet, Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh asked whether the move is a 'belated PR exercise' to say "we tried but failed...", and how the Sebi would complete its investigation before the deadline fixed by the Supreme Court.

Quoting a media report to target Sebi, the Congress leader said, Ramesh said, "First, Sebi suddenly loosens ownership regulations for Foreign Portfolio Investors so as to make them opaque. Then, the Adani Group takes full advantage of this opacity tailor-made for it by its Patron Minister.

"Then, the Modani Saga gets unravelled. Congress and other parties hammer away at need for JPC. Modi govt instead settles for Supreme Court expert committee. SC expert committee holds Sebi accountable for making ownership regulations non-transparent. So Sebi in response to Congress party's persistence & expert committee's finding gets into damage control mode, asking for details of financial institutions behind certain funds."

Firing salvos at the government, the Rajya Sabha MP added, "Now for the real questions: Whether Sebi can enforce this NOW without getting entangled in court cases. Is it a belated PR exercise to say later ? 'we tried but failed, what can we do?' And if the information is required by September, how is it expected to arrive before the Supreme Court's August 14 deadline to Sebi? Or is this is yet another token gesture at the end of which Modani gets exonerated and legitimised?"

The apex court had on Wednesday granted the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) time till August 14 to complete its investigation into the allegations of stock price manipulation by the Adani Group, and asked the market regulator to place on record an updated status report of the probe.

On March 2, the apex court had constituted the expert committee headed by Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, a former judge of the Supreme Court, and comprising O.P. Bhatt, Justice J.P. Devadhar (retired), K.V. Kamath, Nandan Nilekani, and advocate Somashekhar Sundaresan.

The Congress has been demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Adani Group issue. The Budget Session of the Parliament had witnessed several adjournments due to the opposition parties' demands for a JPC probe into the matter.

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