India's tribunal dismisses Reliance appeal for settlement with regulator

MUMBAI Tue Jul 1, 2014 4:22pm EDT

A man walks past a Reliance Industries Limited sign board installed on a road divider in Gandhinagar January 17, 2014. REUTERS/Amit Dave/Files

A man walks past a Reliance Industries Limited sign board installed on a road divider in Gandhinagar January 17, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Amit Dave/Files

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's main securities tribunal on Monday dismissed an appeal by Reliance Industries Ltd seeking an opportunity to settle a case with the country's market regulator involving suspected illegal trading by the energy conglomerate in one of its subsidiaries.

In its appeal to the tribunal, Reliance had argued Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had not given it an opportunity to request the settlement of the case under a process called consent proceedings.

Under consent proceedings, parties involved in disputes with SEBI can settle them without admission of guilt.

The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT), in dismissing Reliance's appeal on Monday, ruled that revised consent proceedings rules SEBI introduced last year, which were retrospectively applied, do not allow a case rejected from consent proceedings to be appealed.

"The rejection of the consent application was wrong," a Reliance spokesman said. "Clearly the appeal would have been allowed had it not been for the Ordinances having retrospective effect."

The case involves a notice issued by SEBI in December 2010 that alleged that Reliance could have breached Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practice Regulations.

In a separate case, SEBI last year had fined another Reliance unit 110 million rupees ($1.8 million) over suspicions of insider trading.

(Reporting by Himank Sharma; editing by Rafael Nam and Keiron Henderson)