Learned Pick: SC’s Six-Member Committee To Probe Adani-Hindenburg Saga

| Updated: March 3, 2023 4:46 pm

The Supreme Court, Thursday, ordered a panel of experts to be set up, headed by a retired Supreme Court judge, after a batch of PILs was filed on the recent Adani Group shares crash triggered by the US-based short-seller Hindenburg Research’s allegations of fraud.

It noted that in view of the “safety of investors,” a committee was to be set up to assess whether the larger regulatory mechanism needs changes. Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud held the remit of this committee will be to suggest measures to strengthen frameworks and investigate the Adani issue. The Adani Group welcomed the order of the apex court, saying the “truth will prevail”.

It may be recalled that on February 17, the top court refused to accept the Centre’s suggestion on a proposed panel of experts in a sealed cover, observing that “it wanted full transparency for the protection of investors.” 

Here’s a quick look at the committee members: 

Former Supreme Court Justice, A.M. Sapre will head the six-member committee comprising O.P. Bhatt, Justice J.P. Devdhar, Nandan Nilakeni, K.V. Kamath and Somasekharan Sundaresan. 

Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre

Justice AM Sapre comes with rich and diverse experience in the Civil, Constitutional and Labour laws. Having started with the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, he was made a Permanent Judge in 2001. After transfers to the Rajasthan High Court, the Chhattisgarh High Court and the High Court of Manipur, he became the First Chief Justice of the High Court of Manipur and then Chief Justice of the Guwahati High Court in 2013. In 2014, Justice Sapre was elevated to the post of Judge of the Supreme Court. He retired in August 2019.

As an SC judge, he was the Chairman of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal. He was also part of the nine-judge bench that unanimously upheld the right to privacy as a fundamental right in the landmark KS Puttaswamy ruling. In April last year, an SC bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud appointed Justice Sapre to assist Unitech Company’s Board of Management in selling off its assets.

Om Prakash Bhatt

Om Prakash Bhatt is a former chairman of the State Bank of India (2006 to 2011). He was also the chairman of the Indian Banks’ Association. Bhatt is now on the board of multiple companies including Tata Motors, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Steel and Hindustan Unilever as an independent director. He also served as the chairman of the Indian Banks’ Association, the apex body of Indian banks and was the government’s nominee for the India-US CEO Forum, Indo-French CEO Forum and Indo-Russia CEO Forum.

Justice J.P. Devdhar

He practised at the Bombay High Court and is an expert in Constitutional Law, particularly the Cooperative Societies Act, Service Law, Rent Act, Customs Act, Excise Act and Direct Tax Law.

He served as the counsel for the Union of India and the standing Counsel for the Income Tax Department since 1985. He was elevated to the High Court as Additional Judge in 2001. The Securities Appellate Tribunal, a body that hears cases related to SEBI, appointed him as its Presiding Officer just two months after his retirement in 2013.

Nandan Nilekani

He started his entrepreneurial journey in 1981 when he co-founded Infosys and is among the rare entrepreneurs who have successfully executed projects in the public as well as the private sector. In 2009, he became the founding Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and played an instrumental role in the roll-out of Aadhaar.

Nilekani held the role till 2014 before resigning to unsuccessfully contest Lok Sabha elections in Bengaluru on a Congress ticket. He has co-founded and is the chairman of EkStep, a not-for-profit effort to create a learner-centric platform for children. In Jan 2023, he was appointed as the co-chair of the “G20 Task Force on Digital Public Infrastructure for Economic Transformation, Financial Inclusion and Development”. He also headed an RBI-constituted committee on the “Deepening of Digital Payments” in 2019.

Kundapur Vaman Kamath

KV Kamath is a veteran banker. He started his career with the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI), which is now known as ICICI Bank. Under his leadership, ICICI Bank transformed into a technology-driven financial services group offering services in the area of banking, asset management and insurance.

Shortly after his stint with ICICI Bank, Kamath was appointed as chairman of Infosys. He also headed the New Development Bank of BRICS countries. In 2021, the government appointed Kamath as the Chairperson of the Rs 20,000 crore National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID).

Somasekhar Sundaresan

Sundaresan is a Mumbai-based securities and regulatory lawyer. He has been a member of the Primary Market Advisory Committee, convened by SEBI to review and advise on regulatory issues involved in the market for primary issuances of securities in the capital markets. Also involved in drafting SEBI regulations prohibiting insider trading, he has additionally worked as a consultant to the Financial Sector Legislative Reform Commission, chaired by Justice B.N. Srikrishna in 2011.

His appointment as judge of the Bombay High Court has been pending with the government since February last year. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court Collegium reiterated its recommendation to appoint him as a judge of the Bombay High Court. It made public the government’s objections, which were about Sundaresan posting his views on social media about sub-judice matters.

Also Read: Gautam Adani Welcomes SC Order, Says Truth Will Prevail

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