Will keep raising Adani issue inside and outside Parliament, it’s a big scam: Kharge

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New Delhi: Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday said his party will keep raising the Adani issue inside and outside Parliament and added that if the government does not work democratically, “people will get rid of it”.

Addressing a press conference at the Congress headquarters here, Kharge posed a set of 10 questions to the government on various issues, including a controversy involving the business group headed by industrialist Gautam Adani and the expunging of certain remarks made by party leader Rahul Gandhi and him in Parliament.

Alleging that the Adani “scam” is a huge one involving public money, he wondered why is the government reluctant to order a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into it.

Kharge said he had not said anything unparliamentary in his speech in the Rajya Sabha and only asked certain questions on the Adani issue.

“Why is the Modi government not conducting a joint parliamentary committee probe into the allegations against the Adani Group? What is the reason behind (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji and his government not even allowing (anyone) to raise the word Adani in Parliament?” he asked.

“Why are the RBI, the SEBI, the ED, the SFIO, the corporate affairs ministry, the IT (department) and the CBI paralysed? So many scams have happened and why are they still silent? They only see other people but not him (Adani),” the Congress president alleged.

“Modiji is now using our Parliament like a washing machine to wash the scams of his friend,” Kharge later alleged in a tweet in Hindi.

He said it is the opposition’s job to ask questions of the government.

The people of the country have elected parliamentarians and it is their responsibility to protect people’s money and rights and ask the government questions on the impact of scams on common people, he added.

“But they did not agree to the (formation of a) JPC nor allowed us to raise the issue in Parliament and that is why our people are agitated.

“We will keep asking questions of the government in parliamentary democracy. But the government does not want to allow Parliament to function democratically and is talking of autocracy. If the government is not ready to work democratically and talks of autocracy and dictatorship, people will get rid of it,” the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha said.

“Shouldn’t the falling value of the LIC’s money, invested in Adani’s companies, be questioned? Shouldn’t questions be asked about the Rs 82,000-crore loan given to Adani by the SBI (State bank of India) and other banks? Shouldn’t questions be asked as to why Rs 525 crore of the LIC and the SBI were invested in Adani’s FPO, despite a more-than-32-per cent fall in Adani’s shares? Shouldn’t questions be asked as to why the value of the LIC’s and SBI’s shares fell by more than Rs 1 lakh crore in the stock market?” Kharge asked.

“Is it a fact that France’s Total Gas has stopped its USD 50 billion investment in Adani’s company, pending the completion of an investigation against Adani? Has the world’s largest equity investor, Norway Sovereign Fund, sold all Adani shares worth USD 200 million?

“Has the MSCI downgraded the ranking of Adani’s companies? Have Standard Chartered, City Group, Credit Suisse stopped lending against Adani’s dollar bonds? Has Dow Jones removed Adani’s companies from the ‘Sustainability Indices’?” he asked.

“What is the reason that Modiji and his entire government do not allow even the utterance of the word Adani in Parliament?” Kharge asked, adding that the country demands answers to these questions.

The Congress chief said he has written to the Rajya Sabha chairman over the expunging of his remarks. By merely expunging his remarks, the allegations made by people and the media will not be cleared, he added.

On his remarks in the Rajya Sabha and that of Gandhi in the Lok Sabha being expunged, Kharge said, “You can well imagine what is going on in the name of democracy.”

He said he was the floor leader in the Lok Sabha for five years and the leader and the deputy leader in the Karnataka Assembly, but had never seen verses or words like “washing machine” being expunged.

“The entire opposition is together on the demand for a joint parliamentary committee probe into the Adani issue. There is unity on this and everyone wants to save the country and protect poor people’s wealth,” he said.

Asked about the Rajya Sabha chairman’s role, Kharge said, “I don’t want to say anything, you have seen it for yourself…. If I say something, they will say I am raising questions on the chairman…. I have great respect for him. We want parliamentary democracy and that is why we are moving with sensitivity.”

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh also alleged that “Parliament TV blacks out whatever Opposition demands and does”.

“Yesterday, Chairman of the Rajya Sabha chided the Leader of Opposition for not elevating level of the debate. He is of course silent at the way the Jagadguru of Jhoot debased it completely with cheap personal swipes at his opponents. Chanting ModiChalisa does not elevate debates,” the former Union minister wrote on Twitter.

Adani Group stocks have taken a beating on the bourses after US-based short-selling firm Hindenburg Research made a litany of allegations, including fraudulent transactions and share-price manipulation, against the business conglomerate.

The Adani Group has dismissed the charges as lies, saying it complies with all laws and disclosure requirements.

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( With inputs from )

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