The Bombay High Court on Wednesday in jest remarked if the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) has sought hearing of a 2019 case involving Adani Enterprises, its Chairman Gautam Adani and Managing Director Rajesh Adani now because of the scenario outside, an apparent refence to a damning report on the Indian conglomerate released by a US-based investment research firm.
A petition was filed by Adani Enterprises in 2019 seeking to quash a sessions court order of the same year refusing to discharge the company, Gautam Adani and Rajesh Adani from a case of alleged violations of market regulations involving nearly Rs 388 crore. In December 2019, the high court stayed the sessions court order. This stay order came to be extended from time to time till February 2022. Last week, the SFIO, a multi-disciplinary organization under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, sought for the matter to be placed for hearing following which it was listed before a single bench of Justice R G Avachat on Wednesday. Senior counsel Amit Desai, appearing for the three petitioners, informed the HC they were unaware the matter was to be heard on Wednesday and sought for it to be fixed for final hearing on a particular day. Justice Avachat then jovially remarked as to why the matter was circulated seeking hearing now. Why is the matter circulated now? Because of the present scenario outside? Justice Avachat said in a lighter vein, indirectly referring to the controversy surrounding the Adani Group after US-based Hindenburg Research issued a report critical of the port-to-energy conglomerate. The bench then posted the plea for final hearing on April 18. In 2012, the SFIO filed a chargesheet against 12 persons, including the Adanis, accusing them of criminal conspiracy and cheating. However, a magistrate's court in Mumbai discharged them from the case in May 2014. The SFIO challenged the discharge order. A sessions court in November 2019 set aside the magistrate's order and noted that the SFIO had made out a case of unlawful gain by the Adani Group. Adani Enterprises, in its petition in the HC, termed the sessions court order as "arbitrary and illegal".
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