India regulator 'draws a blank' in foreign links probe into Adani -report

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MUMBAI, May 19 (Reuters) - India's markets watchdog has "drawn a blank" in investigations into suspected violations by overseas entities allegedly linked to the Adani group, said a court-appointed panel after a short-seller report in January sank Adani stocks.

The coal-to-airports conglomerate controlled by billionaire Gautam Adani lost more than $100 billion in market value earlier this year after U.S.-based Hindenburg Research raised several governance concerns. The group has denied wrongdoing.

Following this, the Supreme Court had asked SEBI to probe some of the allegations made and submit its findings to a panel formed in March.

"The foundation of SEBI's (Securities and Exchange Board of India's) suspicion that led to investigations into the overseas entities' ownership is that they have 'opaque' structures," said the panel in a report dated May 6 and seen by Reuters on Friday. "The ultimate chain of ownership above the 13 overseas entities is not clear."

But despite involving various Indian and overseas agencies in the investigation across multiple countries, "SEBI has drawn a blank", the report said.

Shares of flagship Adani Enterprise Ltd (ADEL.NS) rose nearly 4% after the report.

Adani and the SEBI did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The panel said, citing SEBI, there was evidence of a build-up in short positions on Adani group stocks ahead of the Hindenburg report.

It was not possible to conclude whether there had been regulatory failures regarding price manipulations, the panel said in the report.

Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Mumbai; Editing by Savio D'Souza

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