Adani Group, fraud allegations, Opposition demands probe, Budget session
Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge demanded either a Joint Parliamentary Committee or a team under the supervision of the CJI of Supreme Court to investigate the matter. Photo: ANI/Twitter

Adani stock rout: Opposition demands probe, debate in Parliament

Opposition parties on Thursday (February 2) demanded a discussion and a probe by a joint committee into the fraud-allegation-triggered rout in Adani group company stocks, forcing adjournment of proceedings in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in the pre-lunch session.

The Congress, Shiv Sena, the Left, Aam Aadmi Party and other Opposition parties tried to raise in both Houses of Parliament the issue of allegations levelled by a US short seller against the Adani group and the subsequent mayhem on company stocks but were disallowed by the chair.

Houses adjourned amid protests

While Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla asked Opposition MPs “not to make unsubstantiated claims,” Rajya Sabha Chairperson and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar said the motions tabled by the Opposition were “not in order.”

Unhappy with the ruling, Opposition members raised slogans, forcing the adjournment of proceedings till 2 pm without transacting any official business.

The rout in Adani group stocks has threatened the value of investments made by the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and public sector banks.

Also read: ‘Not morally correct’: Adani Enterprises withdraws fully subscribed FPO

Adani group stocks, where LIC is heavily invested, have lost over USD 100 billion in value since a tiny New York short seller came out with a damning report alleging financial and accounting fraud by the ports-to-energy conglomerate.

The Adani group has denied all charges and called the report malicious and full of lies.

In the Lok Sabha, MPs from at least nine Opposition parties rushed to the Well of the House raising slogans and sought a probe into the business practices of the corporate giant.

Speaker Om Birla asked members not to make unsubstantiated claims and said Question Hour was an important part of Parliamentary proceedings which should not be disrupted.

As the slogan shouting continued, the Speaker adjourned the Lower House proceedings till 2 pm.

Nine MPs, including Leader of the Opposition and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi and AAP’s Sanjay Singh, gave notices in the Rajya Sabha under rule 267.

They sought the suspension of regular business to discuss the Adani group stock route and its impact on millions of small investors as well as the hard-earned savings of crores of Indians being endangered in loss of value of investments of LIC.

After Dhankar rejected the notices in Rajya Sabha, the infuriated MPs rose in their places to protest.

Dhankhar called for order in the House but the MPs continued to raise their demands, which also included the constitution of a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to probe the entire fiasco.

Also read: Adani group stocks nosedive; Adani Enterprises tumble over 28%

With the MPs not relenting, he adjourned the proceedings till 2 pm. No business was transacted.

Want SC-monitored probe: Congress

Outside the House, Kharge said the opposition parties want day-to-day reporting of the Joint Parliament Committee (JPC) or the SC-monitored probe into the issue which concerns public money.

“Keeping public interest in mind, we want a thorough probe into the Adani issue either by a Joint Parliamentary Committee or a Supreme Court-monitored panel. There should also be day-to-day reporting of the investigation on the issue,” he told reporters.

Earlier in the day, leaders of several Opposition parties met to evolve a joint strategy to take on the government during the Budget Session. At that meeting, they decided to press for a JPC on the issue as well as a discussion in both houses.

Leaders of like-minded parties met in the chamber of Kharge.

Leaders of the Congress, DMK, TMC, SP, JD(U), Shiv Sena, CPI(M), CPI, NCP, IUML, NC, AAP and the Kerala Congress were present at the meeting.

Thursday is the first full sitting day of the Budget session of Parliament that started on January 31.

Also read: Congress takes dig at Gautam Adani speaking of being ‘morally correct’

President Droupadi Murmu delivered her address to the joint sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on the opening day and the Union Budget for the 2023-24 fiscal starting April 1 was presented on Wednesday.

(With inputs from agencies)

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