afaqs! news bureau

Former Zee CEO Punit Goenka challenges SEBI order on corporate roles amid fund misuse allegations

The SEBI order accuses Goenka his father, Subhash Chandra of misusing positions for fund diversion.

Punit Goenka, the ex-CEO of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, has lodged a second challenge at the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT). He's contesting the SEBI order that restricts his involvement in directorial or managerial roles at ZEEL and other companies. On August 25, Goenka appealed for relief from SEBI's confirmation order issued on August 14 in a fund diversion case.

The SEBI order accuses Goenka and his father, Subhash Chandra, the former chairman of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), of misusing their positions as directors and Key Managerial Personnel (KMPs) of a listed company by diverting funds for personal gain.

According to CNBC-TV18, only Goenka has approached SAT, not Chandra. The hearing for this matter is scheduled for August 30.

SEBI's confirmatory order comes after its interim order issued in June. The father-son duo had previously appealed to SAT for a stay on the interim order, but their requests were dismissed.

Reportedly, Goenka is likely to question the basis for his exclusion from his position during the investigation.

SEBI Chairperson Madhabi Puri Buch has assured that the investigation will conclude within eight months.

The regulatory body has accused the duo of orchestrating fund transfers out of ZEEL and then funneling them back through complex transactions, falsely presenting it as dues received from associate entities.

Coincidentally, these events align with the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) granting approval for the merger of ZEEL and Culver Max Entertainment, previously known as Sony Pictures Networks India.

In December 2021, Zee Entertainment and Sony Pictures had agreed to merge their operations and subsequently sought approval from the National Stock Exchange (NSE), Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), Competition Commission of India (CCI), and SEBI.

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