The Supreme Court on Friday said it will not injunct media on carrying news on the Hindenburg report on the Adani group till the court pronounces its order on the constitution of a committee to examine the matter.
Advocate M.L. Sharma mentioned the matter before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud. The Chief Justice told Sharma, “We are not going to issue any injunction to the media ever… We will pronounce orders shortly.” When Sharma repeated his request by saying that the media was creating a sensation, the Chief Justice said, “make a reasonable argument, not for an injunction on the media…”
Sharma, in the application, said media hype is affecting the Indian share market and the allegations are creating panic amongst the investors. Sharma’s application is a part of his PIL, which was filed in connection with the Hindenburg report controversy.
On February 17, the Supreme Court said it would not accept sealed cover names of experts suggested by the Centre for inclusion on the committee to be set up to examine Hindenburg report, which resulted in the crash of Adani group company share prices and caused massive loss to investors.
The top court said it will select experts and maintain full transparency, and if the court were to take names suggested by the Central government, then it would amount to a government-constituted committee.
The bench, also comprising Justices P.S. Narasimha and J.B. Pardiwala, said the court wants full transparency for protection of the interests of investors and it will form a committee so that there is a sense of confidence in the court.
The top court on February 10 had said the interests of Indian investors need to be protected against market volatility in the backdrop of the Adani stocks rout and asked the Centre to consider setting up a panel of domain experts headed by a former judge to look into strengthening the regulatory mechanisms.
Till now, four PILs have been filed in the top court on the issue by lawyers M L Sharma, Vishal Tiwari, Congress leader Jaya Thakur and Mukesh Kumar, who claims to be a social activist, respectively.
In related news, economist Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar has said that the Hindenburg report may be the “best thing” that ever happened to billionaire Gautam Adani, as it could bring financial discipline to the Adani Group.
In a column published in The Economic Times, Aiyar argues that the Adani Group, pummeled by a stock rout after US short-seller Hindenburg Research’s report, will benefit by slowing the “breakneck speed” at which it has been expanding and diversifying.
“I think the Hindenburg report may be the best thing that ever happened to Adani. It will slow his speed of expansion and diversification and force his financiers to be diligent and cautious in future. This could impose highly desirable financial discipline on Adani, to his own benefit,” he writes.
“Hindenburg may have been a blessing in disguise — or, in Winston Churchill’s words in response to his wife trying to cheer him up after his post-war electoral defeat — a blessing ‘quite effectively disguised’.”
Seven listed companies of the Adani Group have lost some $125 billion in market value after the Hindenburg report alleged improper use of tax havens and stock manipulation by the apples-to-airports conglomerate.
“Adani has been diversifying and expanding at breakneck speed using borrowed money, bidding very high prices in auctions and acquisitions. This facilitates fast expansion, but carries great risks,” Aiyar has pointed out in his column.