The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) on Wednesday after listening to Punit Goenka's appeal said it is not satisfied with the time taken by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) for the investigation. It said that there is public interest involved with the Zee-Sony merger case and Sebi cannot keep going on with its investigation.
SAT has asked the regulator to file a reply to Punit Goenka's argument by September 4 and at the same time asked Goenka to file a rejoinder by September 7. It also announced that the next Zee-Sebi case hearing will be on September 8 for the final order.
Prior to this hearing, SAT refused to give interim relief to Goenka and Essel Group chairman Subash Chandra after the market regulator barred them from holding any key managerial positions in any listed company for allegedly siphoning off funds of the media firm.
Zee counsel claim no evidence
The counsel representing Zee Entertainment Enterprises on June 19 said that Sebi had no evidence other than the bank statements to prove the allegations of round-tripping of funds based on which Sebi cannot pass an ex-parte order. This is why the counsel wanted to stay the order by Sebi.
Sebi had earlier alleged that Chandra and Goenka have diverted public funds to private entities in its response to SAT. In its affidavit SEBI said, "In the instant case, we have a situation before us where the Chairman Emeritus and the Managing Director and CEO of this large listed company are involved in a myriad of different schemes and transactions through which vast amounts of public money belonging to listed companies are diverted to private entities owned and controlled by those persons."