MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court adjourned the hearing of the petition filed by T Rowe Price International to August 28 after the US-based shareholder of UTI Mutual Fund sought more time saying that it is in talks with the government for an out-of-court settlement of the matter.

On Monday, Fredun De Vitre, senior counsel who was appearing for the T Rowe Price informed the court that talks are on and hence the US-headquartered firm is seeking more time.

The division bench of the Bombay High Court comprising justice R.M. Borde and justice Prithviraj K. Chavan had asked if there is any objection by any other party for granting more time, to which all the parties said they don’t have any objection and then the court had adjourned the case for two weeks.

T Rowe Price filed a petition at the high court seeking an extension of the term of the managing director and chief executive officer Leo Puri, whose tenure came to an end on Monday.

T Rowe also wants the other shareholders of the fund house namely, State Bank of India (SBI), Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Bank of Baroda (BoB) to bring down their individual stakes to 10% to comply with the mutual fund shareholding norms as laid down by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

Incidentally, Mr Puri has already communicated that he is not seeking an extension of his tenure as MD.

When contacted, Mona Bhide, managing partner of Dave Girish & Co, who is advising UTI AMC, Munaf Virjee, partner of ABH law, who is representing TRP, and Mihir Mody, partner of law firm K Ashar & Co, who is advising Sebi in the dispute, refused to comment since the the matter is sub judice.

T Rowe Price has made SEBI and the Ministry of Finance parties to the case as well since the other promoters of UTI MF are all government-owned and the capital market regulator recently announced regulations that bar an entity from holding over 10% in more than one fund house.

The four government-backed entities — SBI, LIC, BoB and PNB — have an 18.24% stake each in UTI MF while also having their respective fund houses.

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