Gautam Adani Given ‘Blank Cheque’ and Modi is Protecting Him: Rahul Gandhi


The Congress MP said that the Financial Times’ recent allegations would ‘bring down any government’ and questioned why the Indian media was ignoring them.

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — Industrialist Gautam Adani has been given a “blank cheque” in India, alleged former Congress president and Lok Sabha member, Rahul Gandhi, here on Wednesday.

Addressing a press conference, the Congress leader questioned why Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not ordering an inquiry into alleged irregularities by the Adani conglomerate, media reports said.

Gandhi’s remarks came six days after the Financial Times alleged that the Adani Group imported billions of dollars of coal well above market prices and made consumers pay more for electricity.

“Earlier, we had spoken about the misappropriation of Rs 20,000 crore,” Gandhi said. “Now, it turns out that this figure was incorrect; another Rs 12,000 crore has been added to it. Now, the total figure is Rs 32,000 crore.”

Gandhi was referring to his allegations made in March that Rs 20,000 crore had “suddenly arrived” in the Adani Group’s shell companies.

“Many other countries are investigating Adani, but India has given a blank cheque to Adani,” Gandhi alleged. “Whatever he wants – electricity, port – he gets everything.”

He said the conglomerate could not engage in such activities without the prime minister’s protection. “Why is the prime minister silent on the issue? I am only helping the prime minister and asking him to come clean by starting an investigation and defend his credibility,” Gandhi was quoted as saying.

He also questioned why the country’s media  was not highlighting these allegations. “This story (in the Financial Times) appears, but the Indian media does not ask even one question,” Gandhi said. “…This story would bring down any government. This is direct theft by a man who is being protected again and again by the prime minister of India.”

The Congress MP further remarked: “SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) told the government that it cannot find documents related to the Adani Group. But the newspaper could find documents. It is clear that the group is being protected by the highest levels of government.”

In August, the market regulator had informed the Supreme Court about its investigation covering 13 overseas entities comprising 12 Foreign Portfolio Investors and one foreign entity. It had said that establishing the economic interest shareholders of the Foreign Portfolio Investors was a challenge as many entities were located in tax haven jurisdictions.

In March, the Supreme Court had asked the securities market regulator to conduct an inquiry after American activist short-selling firm Hindenburg Research in a report on January 24 alleged that the Adani Group was pulling off the “largest con in corporate history”.

Earlier this month, the conglomerate also issued a preemptive statement in response to the Financial Times report, saying that it was an attempt to “rehash old and baseless allegations” to tarnish the group’s name.

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