In a major relief to Gautam and Rajesh Adani, a local court has discharged the industrialists in a case of cheating and criminal conspiracy related to purchase and sale of shares.
The Serious Fraud Investigating Office (SFIO) had, in 2012, filed a charge sheet against twelve accused including the Adani brothers, Adani Exports Limited and Adani Agro Private Limited. According to SFIO, Adani Agro allegedly provided funds and shares to Ketan Parekh entities for running illegal activities in the capital.
The agency also alleged that the promoters off-loaded their share holding when share price was at peak and started purchasing it when the prices went down, to maintain their share holding in the company and earn profit. "Mere allegation that the Adanis have purchased the shares when the prices were low and sold it when the prices were high does not constitute an offence of cheating," observed Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate R M Khan in the order recently.
Though the Adanis were discharged on May 9, the copy of the detailed order was given last week only. The court observed that "deception" is the necessary ingredient for the offence of cheating under the section. "The complainant (SFIO) is therefore necessarily bound to prove that the inducement has been caused by the deception exercised by the accused," the court said.
It also observed that the case of conspiracy was also not made out. "In order to bring home the charge of conspiracy, it is necessary to establish that there was an agreement between the parties for doing an unlawful act by illegal means," the court noted. "There is no averment in complaint sufficient to show that the Adanis have committed an act of criminal conspiracy or cheating," it said.
The judge also observed that there was no "report" by any member of the public against the Adanis that they have been cheated. Adani's counsel had argued that there is no material which prima facie constitutes any offence. However, the SFIO had argued in the court that there are specific allegations against the Adanis mentioned in the charge sheet.
Meanwhile, department sources told PTI that they would study the order in detail and then decide in due course of time whether to challenge it in a higher court.