An expert committee established by the Supreme Court has conducted an investigation into allegations of stock price manipulation against the Adani group companies. The committee has determined that there is no definitive evidence supporting the claims of stock manipulation. However, the committee also stated that it could not definitively conclude whether there were any regulatory failures in relation to the alleged price manipulations. These allegations were initially raised by US short-seller Hindenburg Research, accusing the Adani Group of engaging in "stock manipulation and accounting fraud," which they referred to as the "largest con in corporate history." The Adani Group has consistently denied all these allegations.
Here are the summarized points from the report submitted by the expert panel:
- Adani Group has taken measures to reassure retail investors, leading to a significant increase in retail investment exposure to Adani stocks after January 24, 2023. These measures have contributed to stabilizing the stocks.
- Parties involved have provided sworn statements affirming that Foreign Portfolio Investments (FPI) in Adani stocks are not funded by the Adani Group. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has not been able to establish a solid case based on its suspicions.
- The violation of public float by Adani companies could not be established presently. SEBI is conducting a detailed investigation into six entities that held short positions.
- SEBI has identified 13 transactions for potential violations of related party norms and fraudulent trades in Adani group companies.
- There is a need for an effective enforcement policy that is coherent and consistent with SEBI's legislative position.
- SEBI suspects wrongdoing but also acknowledges compliance with various regulations, leading to a situation where it is difficult to determine causality.
The expert panel, headed by retired Supreme Court judge Justice AM Sapre and including members such as OP Bhatt, KV Kamath, Nandan Nilekani, and Somsekhar Sundaresan, noted that retail investors' exposure to Adani stocks increased after January 24, 2023, indicating that the Indian stock market as a whole was not excessively volatile during that period. Overall, the report reflects a complex situation where suspicions and compliance with regulations coexist, making it challenging to establish clear causality. With the panel's findings, the Adani group continues to deny the allegations against them.