Vijay Mallya vs law: Sebi widens probe, finds prima-facie lapses

  • PTI, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 20, 2016 22:43 IST
Sebi has widened its probe into dealings of Vijay Mallya-led UB Group companies. (AP File Photo)

Finding prima facie evidence of non-compliance to various norms, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has widened its probe into dealings of Vijay Mallya-led UB Group companies.

The capital market watchdog may also seek information from other regulators in India and abroad, and from the stock exchanges, as it seeks to de-clog the complex transactions Mallya had entered into.

Details and clarifications have also been sought from all the concerned parties, including the present and erstwhile UB Group firms, as well as from foreign companies with whom Mallya had dealt with for sale of controlling stake in United Spirits Ltd (USL) to Diageo, a senior Sebi official said.

The market regulator is looking into Mallya-Diageo transactions after the flamboyant businessman inked a `515-crore ‘sweetheart deal’ to exit USL, suspecting possible violations of corporate governance and other norms.

Sebi has found prima-facie evidence of non-compliance to various transactions, and has also stepped up cooperation with other agencies that are separately looking into alleged violations in the loans taken by the erstwhile Kingfisher Airlines, sources said.

A controversy cropped up after Mallya left India within days of his ‘exit deal’ with Diageo, which has already paid more than half of the total amount to the businessman, who has been known as the ‘King of Good Times’.

Sebi is looking into the role of USL and its main promoter Diageo, as well as of Mallya and his group firms that are, or have been shareholders, in India’s leading liquor maker.

Besides, Sebi is also looking into the trading data for USL shares to check whether there has been any violation of insider-trading norms or other irregularities.

The corporate affairs ministry and others may also join in as the deal raised “serious doubts” about whether the corporate governance norms have been followed in “letter and spirit” in this matter.

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