SEC remants order in Goenka appeal against Sebi ban

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SEC remants order in Goenka appeal against Sebi ban

The Securities Appellate Tribunal remanted its order in an appeal filed by Punit Goenka, a promoter of Zee Entertainment Enterprises, against the supreme court's order banning him from holding key positions in four Zee firms, including the merged company with Sony Pictures.

In a confirmatory order issued by the SEC, the SEC said it would complete the investigation within eight months into the alleged siphoning of funds and money circulation through related organizations.

The Tribunal has arranged a week for written submissions in the matter.

Darius Khambata, the senior counsel for Sebi, said the regulator would begin the investigation of five transactions related to the matter by November 30. Sebi said that more time might be required to complete investigations into other transactions.

SAT had previously asked Sebi's reliability and the ability to adhere to the specified timelines.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, a senior advocate of Goenka, argued that the Sebi order was not in the investors' best interest and that the regulator had failed to establish any loss to Zee Entertainment or any gain by Goenka resulting from the alleged transactions.

Singhvi described the Sebi ban as 'draconian' and suggested that the government's request for eight months may just be the start of another lengthy investigation. Sebi, who said that he was using a'sledgehammer to kill a fly', argued that all transactions highlighted by Sebi were legitimate and based on valid business considerations.

In his arguments, Singhvi said that the board would consist primarily of representatives and nominees from Sony and that the chief financial officer would report directly to the board if necessary.

A letter of comfort sent by Goenka's father, Subhash Chandra, to the YES Bank chairman, for the appropriation of a Rs 200-crore fixed deposit. Sebi had previously issued an interim order in June, preventing Chandra and Goenka from holding key management positions and directorships in all listed companies. SAT has now directed Sebi to provide the Zee promoters with an opportunity for a hearing and to issue a fresh order within two months. The confirmatory order was subsequently issued by the Sebi chairperson in August.