The Congress party on Friday sought a “serious investigation” into the charges levelled against Adani Group’s companies in a report released by New York-based investor research firm Hindenburg Research. In a statement issued on Twitter, Congress general secretary in-charge of communication Jairam Ramesh said that the allegations require a thorough probe by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
The 103-page report released by US-based Hindenburg Research on Wednesday has accused Gautam Adani’s companies of accounting fraud, stock manipulation and improper use of offshore tax havens by the group. It also charged Adani Group companies of “brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades”.
The Adani Group, on its part, said Thursday that it is evaluating relevant provisions under the US and Indian laws for remedial and punitive action against Hindenburg Research.
In his statement, Ramesh said that while Congress would normally refrain from reacting to a research report on an individual company or business group prepared by a hedge fund, the forensic analysis by the research firm merited a response.
“This is because the Adani Group is no ordinary conglomerate: it is closely identified with Prime Minister Narendra Modi since the time he was Chief Minister… the high exposure of financial institutions such as the Life Insurance Company of India and the State Bank of India to the Adani Group has implications for financial stability and for the crores of Indians whose savings are stewarded by these pillars of the financial system,” he said.
Ramesh said in his statement that earlier reports too had described the Adani Group as “deeply over-leveraged”. “The allegations require serious investigation by those who are responsible for the stability and security of the Indian financial system, viz. the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).”
“For all its posturing about black money, has the Modi government chosen to turn a blind eye towards illicit activities by its favourite business group? Is there a quid pro quo? Will SEBI investigate these allegations to the fullest and not just in name?” Ramesh further asked.
The remarks also come in the backdrop of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s persistent attacks against Prime Minister Modi, accusing him and the BJP government of favouring Gautam Adani.
“We fully understand the close relationship between the Adani Group and the current government. But it is incumbent on the Congress party as a responsible opposition party to urge SEBI and RBI to play their roles as stewards of the financial system and to investigate these allegations in the wider public interest,” Ramesh added in his statement.