The Supreme Court will hear a petition tomorrow that seeks directions to market regulator Sebi to take action on the report of a high-powered committee which had probed the IPO scam of 2006 and NSDL’s role in it. A bench comprising Justices RV Raveendran and AK Patnaik will hear the petition.
On March 28, the court had asked Sebi to reply within four weeks on whether it would revisit its decision to give a clean chit to NSDL (National Securities Depository Ltd) in the scam, which related to share allotment irregularities in various Initial Public Offers (IPOs) between 2003 and 2006.
It further asked Sebi “to consider whether its board will reconsider the special committee’s December 4 order in respect of NSDL and DSQ Securities and to pass an appropriate resolution and place before this court”.
The court had also pulled up Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati, appearing for the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), for not taking any stand in this matter.
It was not satisfied with his reply that the Sebi board has already taken a decision on the report of the committee, which had declared it as “non-est (does not exist).”
The Ministry of Finance had set up a committee consisting of two Sebi members G Mohan Gopal, now Director of National Judicial Academy, and V Leeladhar to look into the scam.
The Committee had passed three orders and found that NSDL had failed in its duty. It had also passed remarks against the manner in which Sebi had functioned in the IPO scam.
According to a senior official of the regulator, the Sebi board is scheduled to meet on April 26 to discuss the NSDL matter and to finalise the reply to the court notice.
He said NSDL was given clean chit last year by Sebi, when it had C B Bhave as Chairman, but there have been many changes since then at the regulatory authority.
Bhave had recused himself from the Sebi board meeting in February 2010, when NSDL matter was discussed, as he had previously headed the depository.
Earlier, the apex court had expressed concern over Sebi’s outright rejection of the report, and had asked the market regulator to give its stand.
It had remarked that as the Committee comprised of senior Sebi officials, the report should have been considered by the regulator.
The apex court was also not convinced by the submissions of Sebi that the committee exceeded its limit.