Modi govt cannot run away from questions saying Hum Adani ke hain kaun?: Congress

Modi govt cannot run away from questions saying 'Hum Adani ke hain kaun?': Congress

The Congress on Sunday (February 5) went all out to grill the Narendra Modi government over its “loud silence” over the allegations against the Adani Group, alleging that the issue “smacks of collusion”. Training its guns on PM Modi, who has always been extremely vocal about his government’s fight against economic offenders, the Congress highlighted how the government was trying to hide from questions by asking, Hum Adani ke hain kaun? (Who are we to Adani?)

The Congress general secretary of communications, Jairam Ramesh, issued a statement affirming that from Sunday (February 5) onwards, the Congress will pose three questions every day to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over this issue.

After US-based activist short-seller Hindenburg Research made a series of allegations against the Gautam Adani-led group, that included fraudulent transactions and share price manipulation, the stocks of the group plunged in the stock market

According to Ramesh, despite all these allegations against the Adani Group, the Modi government has maintained a “loud silence which smacks of collusion”.

Hum Adani Ke Hain Kaun?

Listing out the times the PM had taken a tough stand against economic offenders, Ramesh recalled that after the Panama Papers expose on April 4, 2016, the ministry of finance had claimed that Modi had personally told them to monitor financial flows to and from offshore tax havens.

Also read: Adani Group to hire a Big 4 firm for ‘general audit’: TotalEnergies

The Congress leader also cited the example of the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, held on September 5 2016, where Modi had said that the government needs to “act to eliminate safe havens for economic offenders, track down and unconditionally extradite money launderers and break down the web of complex international regulations and excessive banking secrecy that hide the corrupt and their deeds”.

According to Ramesh, these statements prompts questions that Modi and his government cannot hide from just brushing it aside saying ‘HAHK’ (Hum Adani Ke Hain Kaun). (This is a take-off from the popular 1994 Bollywood film, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun?)

Ramesh then went on to rake up the issue of Vinod Adani, the brother of Gautam Adani, who was named in the Panama Papers and the Pandora Papers, and he alleged is someone who operates offshore entities in the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands.

In his statement, Ramesh said, “He (Vinod Adani) is alleged to have engaged in ‘brazen stock manipulation’ and ‘accounting fraud’ via ‘a vast labyrinth of offshore shell entities’. And went on to question Modi for having spoken often about his sincerity and ‘niyat’ (intention) in fighting corruption and even subjected the nation to the heavy costs of demonetisation.

Also read: Committed to ensuring market integrity: SEBI allays fears amid Adani row

The three questions

“What does the fact that a business entity you are well acquainted with faces serious allegations tell us about the quality and sincerity of your investigations?” asked the Congress general secretary.

Further, stepping up the attack, Ramesh alleged that over the years, Prime Minister Modi “misused” agencies like the Enforcement Directorate, Central Bureau of Investigation and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence to “intimidate” and bulldoze his political opponents. And also to “punish” business houses that are not in step with the financial interests of his cronies.

The second question that Ramesh posed was: “What action has been taken, if ever, to investigate the serious allegations made over the years against the Adani Group? Is there any hope of a fair and impartial investigation under you?”

And, went on to ask the third question: “How is it possible that one of India’s largest business groups, one that has been allowed to build monopolies in airports and seaports, could have escaped serious scrutiny for so long despite persistent allegations?”

He alleged that other business groups have suffered by been harassed and raided for much less. “Was the Adani Group essential to a dispensation that has profited from anti-corruption rhetoric all of these years?” asked Ramesh.

Tagging his statement, the Congress leader tweeted, “The eloquent silence of the PM on the Adani MahaMegaScam has forced us to start a series, HAHK-Hum Adani ke Hain Kaun. We will be posing 3 questions to the PM daily beginning today.” He wanted the PM to stop being silent on the issue.

The Congress has also flagged off a Twitter poll on its official Twitter handle. The poll is questioning people on whether the Prime Minister will ever investigate the allegations of fraud against “his friend Adani”.

Also read: Adani Enterprises to be dropped from Dow Jones sustainability indices

Adani Group dismisses charges

The Adani Group, however, has dismissed the charges against the group as lies. They comply with all laws and disclosure requirements, said the group.

However, the 10 listed Adani Group firms have faced a combined erosion of over ₹8.5 lakh crore in just six trading sessions. Adani Enterprises also had to withdraw a ₹20,000 crore share sale.

Meanwhile, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman stepped in on Saturday to clarify that India’s economic image has not been affected by Adani Group’s recent decision to pull out its ₹20,000 crore FPO, in the backdrop of allegations that the group is indulging in financial wrongdoings.

Sitharaman told reporters in Delhi that the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals has remained unscathed. “Yes, FPOs (follow-on public offers) come in, and FIIs (foreign institutional investors) get out,” she pointed out, adding that “fluctuations” exist in every market but the accretion over the last few days establishes the fact that the perception of both India and its inherent strengths is intact.

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