Maha Cong chief questions investments by PSUs, LIC in Adani Group; seeks SIT probe

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Mumbai: Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole has alleged the money of LIC and other PSUs was invested in Adani Group at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi which he claimed was “a massive scale of irregularities” and demanded a probe by Special Investigation Team (SIT).

He also demanded the Maharashtra government take back the Dharavi redevelopment project in Mumbai from the Adani group.

The Congress’ demand for an SIT probe came days after a New York firm alleged in a report that its two-year investigation found the Adani Group “engaged in a brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades”.

Adani Group has threatened to sue Hindenburg Research for its “reckless” attempt to sabotage the mega share sale at Adani Enterprises and called the report “maliciously mischievous”.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi and industrialist Gautam Adani’s close relations are well known. The money of State Bank of India, LIC (Life Insurance Corporation), and other public sector undertakings (PSUs) have been invested by PM Modi without any thought and procedure in Adani group,” Patole alleged in a statement issued on Saturday.

He claimed such “favouritism” over the Adani Group has caused the fear of losing this money (against the backdrop of the group’s share tumbling on bourses).

“It is a massive scale of irregularities and there should be an SIT to probe it,” the Congress leader stated.

Patole alleged Narendra Modi’s closeness with Adani was well-known even before Modi became the prime minister (in 2014).

“After coming to power at the national level, PM Modi showed special favour and helped the group with a loan from SBI. The LIC has invested nearly Rs 74,000 crore in it. Adani could rank among the world’s richest persons so soon only because of Modi’s blessings.

“The public sectors undertakings that were performing well, have been given to Adani group for its operations as well. The bubble was burst and Adani may have to go to jail like Sahara group’s Subrato Roy,” Patole alleged.

He said it is a “world-known secret” that probe agencies were used to force a company to hand over the Mumbai international airport’s operations to Adani Group.

“Even Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has planned to hand over operations of state distribution utility to Adani group but it could not materialise because of the strong opposition from its union,” Patole added.

He claimed a Dubai-based real estate development company had put in the highest bid for the Dharavi slum rehabilitation project in Mumbai but the contract was awarded to Adani Group.

“Going by this group’s irregularities, it endangers the people living there and small businesses. The government should take back the Dharavi redevelopment project from the Adani group,” he demanded.

The Adani Group has termed the Hindenburg report malicious with unsubstantiated contents.

“The maliciously mischievous, unresearched report published by Hindenburg Research on January 24, 2023 has adversely affected the Adani Group, our shareholders and investors. The volatility in Indian stock markets created by the report is of great concern and has led to unwanted anguish for Indian citizens,” Adani Group’s legal head Jatin Jalundhwala had said in a statement.

“We are evaluating the relevant provisions under US and Indian laws for remedial and punitive action against Hindenburg Research,” he stated.

However, Hindenburg has stood by the report.

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( With inputs from )

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