Home / Markets / Stock Markets /  SAT stays Sebi order in RIL-Facebook case

MUMBAI : The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) on Tuesday stayed the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (Sebi’s) 20 June order that had imposed a penalty of Rs30 lakh on Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) for non-disclosure of information.

In June, the markets regulator in its order imposed the penalty jointly on RIL and its two compliance officers, K. Sethuraman and Savithri Parekh, for alleged violation of Prohibition of Insider Trading (PIT) regulations.

RIL in its plea before SAT had appealed for a stay on the order.

“We stay the effect and operation of Sebi’s 20 June order and list it for final disposal on 12 December," said a bench led by Justice Tarun Agarwala.

The case relates to fair disclosure of unpublished price sensitive information (UPSI) prior to Facebook’s acquisition of a 9.99% interest in RIL subsidiary Jio Platforms in April 2020 for Rs43,574 crore.

The significant concern, according to the regulator, was a news report from the Financial Times, London, dated 24 March 2020, detailing the expected investment from the big global internet company. This led to RIL’s stock rising by 15%, which was essentially UPSI.

Sebi held that Parekh and Sethuraman should have clarified to the exchanges on the news item. It was observed that RIL, Parekh and Sethuraman did not comply with the provision of principles of fair disclosure of UPSI, which states that there should be prompt dissemination of unpublished price sensitive information that gets disclosed selectively, inadvertently or otherwise, to make such information generally available. They were also alleged to have not issued any clarification as required under LODR regulations.

RIL maintained that as stock exchanges did not request clarification, it was not obligated to provide one. However, Sebi said it is not persuaded that the business may abdicate its responsibility to confirm a news story that has appeared in the newspaper.

Justice Agarwala asked Sebi to file reply in the matter. “How feasible is it for any listed company to reply to every sort of information that is disseminated from across the globe," he asked the Sebi counsel.


Priyanka Gawande

Priyanka Gawande is a senior legal correspondent at Mint. She has worked as legal reporter for four years with both television and digital mediums. Based in Mumbai, she reports on disputes across sectors including banking, corporates and finance. This also includes insolvency and bankruptcy cases and intellectual property rights (IPR) litigation. Her focus also comprises tracking capital markets and disputes relating to securities law. Previously, Priyanka worked with Informist Media for 2.5 years covering major insolvency and bankruptcy cases and corporate developments. She started her career in journalism with Business Television India (BTVi) where she reported on primary markets, banking, finance and insurance companies.
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