After NDTV promoters Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy were ordered to pay penalty by Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) for wrongful gains they made in insider trading, they have offered their shares in NDTV as security for the penalty. Roys submitted the offer at the Supreme Court on Thursday, after which the apex court ordered a valuation of the shares. On January 11, SAT had asked them to deposit 50% of the unfair gain amount with SEBI in four weeks, after they had appealed against a SEBI order in the issue.
Appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said that the petitioners are offering the shares as they have no other money. He also termed the SEBI order “hopelessly barred by time”, as the transaction has taken place in 2007 while the notice for the same was issued in 2018. When the court asked how much security they are willing to give, the advocate replied, “I can give an undertaking that I will not transfer any portion of my shareholding in NDTV without the permission of the tribunal. I have no other money. I have no other resources. This security, in terms of my shares and their value on the stock exchange, is much more than the amount of money in question, more than 15 crores.”
He also said that it is a matter of 10 days, as the matter is expected to be heard by SAT on February 11. The CJI said that the court understands the problem, but without depositing some security, the SAT will not hear the matter.
When the supreme court asked the value of the shares being offered as security, the advocate of the petitioners said it was more than the entire penalty amount, more than Rs 15 crore. But the court wanted definite figures and not vague estimates. On this, Rohatgi’s instructing counsel, Advocate Fereshte Sethna informed the court that there are around 50 lakh shares which were trading at Rs.37 this morning on the stock exchange, which comes to around Rs 18 crore in total valuation.
Rohatgi also termed NDTV as a “struggling channel”, claiming that the channel is hit very badly.
The bench recorded the submission of advocate Mukul Rohatgi that he has undertaken to submit a statement of the shares along with their value to the court, which the petitioners have agreed to offer as security in lieu of the deposit amount ordered by the Tribunal.
NDTV founders Prannoy Roy and his wife, Radhika Roy had filed an appeal with SAT against a SEBI order passed in November, barring the couple from trading in the securities market for two years, and directing them to return the illegal gain of Rs 16.97 crore they had made from the insider trading more than 12 years ago.
According to an investigation conducted by SEBI, the two had violated the Prohibition of Insider Trading (PIT) Regulations. They are accused of possessing Unpublished Price Sensitive Information (UPSI) during 2007-2008 relating to discussion on reorganization of New Delhi Television Ltd.
Besides the duo, India’s capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has also found the media network’s CEO Vikramaditya Chandra, senior advisor Ishwari Prasad Bajpai, group CFO Saurav Banerjee guilty of making undue gain from insider trading.