Decided on September 09,2003



C.Achuthan, - (1.) SECURITIES & Exchange Board of India (Respondent herein) vide its order dated 3.10.2001 appointed an Adjudicating Officer (Respondent herein)for holding an inquiry for the purpose of imposing monetary penalty for the alleged violation of section 15H of the SECURITIES and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992 (the SEBI Act) by four companies viz. (1) Mividha Investments Ltd., (2) Classic Credit Ltd., (3) Panther Investrade Ltd., (4) JDP Shares and Finance (P) Ltd., The Adjudicating Officer after inquiry found the said companies guilty of violating regulation 10 of the SEBI (Substantial Acquisition of Shares & Takeovers) Regulations, 1997 (the Regulations ) and imposed a sum of five lakh rupees as penalty on the said companies in terms of section 15 H of the SEBI Act vide order dated 31.7.2002. In terms of the order the said companies "will be jointly and severally liable to pay" the said penalty amount of five lakh rupees.
(2.) Claiming to be aggrieved, the said four companies filed separate appeals challenging the common order passed by the Adjudicating Officer. Since all the four appeals are directed against the common order., and the order is based on the Adjudicating Officer's perception that all the four Appellants had acted in concert, the appeals were clubbed and posted for hearing in one batch. But, when the appeals were taken up for consideration the learned Counsel representing JDP Shares & Finance Ltd., the Appellant in Appeal No.66/2002 (JDP) submitted that its case be heard separately and be not clubbed with the other three appeals while hearing. Since the Appellant wanted its case to be heard separately, the appeal was kept out and other three appeals were heard in one batch and the appeal filed by JDP was heard separately. Even though JDP had attacked the order on a separate ground, the material basis of the order is common that the Appellants by acting in concert acquired more than 15% shares of the Target Company without making any public offer. Therefore the decision on merit in any one of the appeals has a bearing on the other appeals also. In the case of JDP it was brought to the notice of the Tribunal at the time of hearing by its learned Counsel that the Adjudicating Officer passed the order before the enquiry was completed and as such the order can not be sustained. In support of the said submission he had produced the minutes of the proceedings of 1.2.2002 before the Adjudicating Officer. In that context learned Counsel appearing for SEBI had expressed SEBI's willingness to hear the said Appellant's case afresh in case the Tribunal decides to remand the matter for the purpose. The Tribunal, accordingly vide its order dated 8.7.2003 directed SEBI to hear the matter afresh and decide the charges preferred against JDP, covered in the show cause notice. For the purpose the case relating JDP was remanded to the Adjudicating Officer.
(3.) THE appeals filed by the Appellants herein were heard before the Tribunal heard and decided the JDP's case. THE order was reserved in the present appeals, pending disposal of the JDP's case. JDP's appeal was allowed by way of remand.;

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