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Sebi to look into Anil's allegations

May 07, 2005 16:34 IST

Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India on Saturday said it has received several letters from Reliance Industries vice-chairman and managing director Anil Ambani, fighting a bitter battle with elder brother Mukesh over ownership of the group, and would look into all the issues in the 'broader interest of investors'.

"Anil has sent several letters... we are doing everything that is needed to protect the interest of investors," Sebi chief M Damodaran told reporters in New delhi when asked if Anil had lodged any formal complaint and filed papers about corporate governance and disclosure in the group during his meeting with the regulator two days ago.

The Reliance Ownership Issue

Asked if Mukesh had also met him after he took charge as Sebi chairman earlier this year, Damodaran said, "I do not reckon so... many people have met me since then." Speaking on the sidelines of an Assocham seminar on "Disclosure Requirements", Damodaran said he would not like to get into specific details about any company when asked as to what Sebi would do in the case of a managing director of a mega company (RIL) not signing its financial accounts at the board meeting 'owing to absence of information and disclosure."

He said Anil had met him two days ago "possibly for closer to an hour" but did not divulge details of the discussions.

On the content of Anil's letters to Sebi on governance and other issues in the group companies, Damodaran said the officials concerned were reading and looking into these. "I am concerned with broader policy issues," he said.

"Everything will be put in public domain," Damodaran said on being asked as to when the regulator would clear the cloud on Reliance group companies.

About the question mark put by Anil on freedom of independent directors on RIL board, he said the regulator could not get into what directors say at the board meetings.

"If there is some dissatisfaction regarding the manner in which a director functions, when that person's term comes up for re-election or whatever, I am sure questions will be raised at that time," he said.

"There is nothing called regulator saying X is independent and Y is not. I may be independent in one company but may not be independent in another company where someone related to me is running the company," he said adding it was for the people, who elect these directors, to look into.

On his meeting with Anil, he said, "Members of Parliament come and meet me from time to time."

Asked if Anil met him as an MP or managing director of RIL, he said, "I don't think a person tells in what capacity he is meeting."

On letters sent to him by Anil, he said several letters were sent not only to him but to others also. He, however, did not elaborate.

"Whatever is within our regulatory framework, we will do," he said when asked whether Sebi was examining the communications.

"Why should I tell you," he quipped when asked whether the regulator prima facie found anything wrong in the Reliance issue.

He said any material development in any company should be disclosed quickly to the stock exchanges, but clarified he would not like to comment on any particular company.

Damodaran was asked if Reliance group companies were disclosing all the developments to the exchanges.

He parried queries on sale of IPCL's 23 per cent equity by Reliance Capital, a group company that may go to Anil by way of settlement, saying,"I don't comment on any particular company."

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