Vijay Mallya moves SAT against Sebi order barring him from securities market
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Mumbai: Vijay Mallya has filed an appeal in the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) against a Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) order which barred him and six others from the securities market for alleged violations of the listing agreement, diversion of funds and fraud. The first hearing is scheduled on Friday.
The six others barred via the interim order by the capital markets regulator on 25 January, in the matter of United Spirits Ltd (USL), have filed a separate appeal. The six other former USL officials are Ashok Capoor, a former managing director; Sowminarayanan, a former assistant vice-president; P.A. Murali, a former chief financial officer; S.N. Prasad, a former senior vice-president finance and accounts; Paramjit Singh Gill, a former president of India operations; and Ainapur S.R., a former divisional vice-president.
The appeal challenges the grounds on which Sebi had barred them. Sebi had heavily relied on forensic audits done by auditors EY India and Price Waterhouse Coopers for passing the directions.
Mallya is being represented by Finsec Law Advisors and his counsel is Darius Khambatta.
The appeal also challenges the direction of the market regulator that Mallya be barred from the securities market and also from directorship at all listed companies.
Considering the directive, Mallya will need to step down from the board of United Breweries Holdings Ltd.
When the Sebi order was passed, Mallya took to the social media platform to call it a witch hunt.
“Neither have I had any communication with Sebi nor have I ever been afforded a hearing before this purported action has been taken,” Mallya had said. “I have always strongly denied all allegations made by USL,” he added.
Sebi, under section 11(B) of the Sebi Act, can pass interim directions pending investigations.
In a 30-page order, Sebi whole-time member S. Raman had said that funds from USL were diverted to some group companies of United Breweries Ltd, including the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines Ltd.
“Investors (of USL) might have based their investment decisions on the manipulated books of account,” said Sebi in the order.
Sebi had considered two forensic audits conducted by PwC and EY for transactions during 2010-2014.
While the audit by PwC observed that Rs655 crore was diverted and misappropriated, EY found that Rs1,225 crore was mis-utilised.
The regulator is of the view that by diverting substantial funds from USL to companies of the UB Group, Mallya and other management personnel have engaged in an act of fraud or deceit on the public shareholders/investors of USL.