NEW DELHI: The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has stayed an order passed by Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) that had banned Future Retail chairperson Kishore Biyani and some other promoters from the securities market for one year for alleged insider trading.
SAT has also directed the Future Group promoters to deposit a sum of Rs 11 crore as an interim measure.
“In a hearing held on February 15, 2021, the Securities Appellate Tribunal has stayed the effect and operation of Sebi’s order accusing the promoters of the Future Group of insider trading in the context of purchases of Future Retail shares made in March 2017,” Future Corporate Resources Private Limited (FCRPL) said in a statement.
FCRPL is one of the promoters of Future Retail, which operates its flagship store Big Bazaar and other retail formats such as EasyDay Club and Heritage Fresh.
In a late evening filing to exchanges, Future Retail also confirmed the development.
“The SAT has stayed the effect and operation of the Sebi Order against the promoters / promoter entities subject to the conditionalities set out in terms of its order,” it said.
Future Retail added that a “copy of the order is awaited” and it will update the exchanges once the order is published and uploaded by the tribunal.
The case will now come up for hearing before SAT on April 12, 2021.
Earlier on February 3, the market regulator had barred Kishore Biyani and certain other promoters of Future Retail Ltd from the securities market for one year for indulging in insider trading in the shares of the company.
In addition, the regulator had imposed a fine of Rs 1 crore each on Kishore Biyani, Anil Biyani and Future Corporate Resources. Besides, they were asked to disgorge Rs 17.78 crore of wrongful gains made by them.
The development comes at a time when Future Group is locked in a bitter legal battle with e-commerce giant Amazon over the former’s Rs 24,713-crore deal with Reliance Industries (RIL).
In August last year, Future Group had entered into a deal with billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s RIL to sell its retail, wholesale, logistics and warehousing units.
According to FCRPL, restructuring of the home furnishing businesses in the Future Group (with the physical store format of Future Retail and online store format of Future Enterprises being demerged into a new company) had been well known in the public since 2016.
“Future Group counsel Somasekhar Sundaresan argued that the actual terms of the restructuring were initiated only in April 2017, while the purchases were made in March to avail of the creeping acquisition limits under the takeover regulations,” FCRPL said.
Besides, the home furnishing vertical of Future Retail was a minuscule component of Future Retail’s business and was hardly material for price discovery for shares of Future Retail, he argued.