Indiabulls approaches SC, seeks early hearing in petition against it

Supreme Court
In response to a petition alleging malpractice and fraud to the tune of about Rs 98,000 crore at Indiabulls Housing Finance Limited (IHFL), the company today approached the Supreme Court with a plea that the case be heard urgently as rumours about the allegations in the petition were leading to a fall in its stock price. Shares of the company have fallen continuously over the past two days leading to a near Rs 7,000 crore erosion of market capitalisation, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Indiabulls Housing Finance said. The top court said the plea would be heard only in July, not before.

The main petitioner, IHFL alleged, was someone who had bought just four shares of the company about three weeks ago. Singhvi said the petitioner had filed the petition and circulated it in the media, but never sought its listing in the court. Speculations of misdeeds at the company had led to the stock price plummeting from Rs 720 per share to nearly Rs 600 per share, he said.

On Monday, a petition was filed in the top court alleging that Indiabulls Housing Finance and its chairman Sameer Gehlaut, and other directors had siphoned off funds worth thousands of crores from the company accounts for their personal use. The petitioner also alleged that Gehlaut, with the help of one Harish Fabiani - an non-resident Indian based in Spain, allegedly created multiple "shell companies" to which IHFL loaned huge sums of money under "bogus and non-existent pretexts", added report.

Following the petition, IHFL had said that the petition was filed by the same people who had tried to extort money from the company a few days ago. In a statement on Monday, the company had said that the petition was an attempt to “blackmail” the company and extort money from them at a crucial juncture when its merger with LaxmiVilas Bank was pending final approval.

In its statement on Wednesday, IHFL reiterated that petitioner had chosen to just file the petition and not seek its listing so as to “create turbulence in the financial markets and the real objective of the petitioner is not to get the application heard as it has no locus standi, merits or facts.

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