The Supreme Court on Friday asked Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) not to take any coercive steps against NDTV promoters Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy till it hears their pleas on September 3 challenging penalty proceedings in connection with the alleged violation of securities norms by concealing information from shareholders on certain loan agreements.
At the beginning of the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing SEBI, requested a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana to adjourn the matter for next Friday and the other side has also given consent for it.
Justice Ramana said: "But, do not take coercive steps" Mehta said yes, there is an order.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing the Roys, submitted that "order is there, but now they have started penalty proceedings".
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Justice Ramana queried, "What is the stage of the appeal?"
Rohatgi submitted that it has not been listed, as a third member is not there and longer matters are not being taken up.
The bench also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose said: "We will adjourn, but don't take any coercive steps". Mehta replied we would not. Rohatgi submitted, "do not precipitate the matter".
After hearing arguments, the top court adjourned the matter for further hearing next Friday.
In February, the Supreme Court Monday directed SAT to hear Roys' appeals against the orders of market regulator SEBI without the precondition of depositing half of the fines.
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The top court had said: "Appeals are to be heard on March 4. No amount shall be recovered coercively in absence of any deposit for hearing the appeals." However, the top court emphasized that this order shall not be treated as a precedent.
SAT had directed the NDTV promoters to deposit 50 per cent of the disgorged amount before SEBI. The market regulator had imposed this penalty in the view of alleged violation of various securities norms, where information was concealed from shareholders in connection with certain loan agreements.
The SAT had also noted that if NDTV were to deposit the amount, the balance would not be recovered during the pendency of the appeal before the tribunal.
The tribunal in two separate orders passed on January 4, agreed to examine the appeals filed by Roys. The couple had filed appeals against the SEBI November order, which barred them from the securities market for two years and also directed them to disgorge illegal gains of Rs 16.97 crore for indulging in insider trading more than 12 years ago. The news channel has denied these charges.