Probe Demanded into Indian Oligarch Adani’s Shady Deals

Hindenburg Research on Adani: Corporate Fraud Case. Photo: RMN News Service
Hindenburg Research on Adani: Corporate Fraud Case. Photo: RMN News Service

Probe Demanded into Indian Oligarch Adani’s Shady Deals

While the opposition parties in India are mostly extinct, they fail to realize that no investigating officer or court judge can dare to pronounce any judgment against Modi or his friends.

By Rakesh Raman

The functioning of both Houses – Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha – of Indian Parliament was suspended today (February 2) as opposition parties demanded a probe into the alleged stock market scam by oligarch Gautam Adani.

Adani – who is a close capitalist crony of prime minister (PM) Narendra Modi – has been facing a fierce backlash as a massive investigative report of Hindenburg Research has accused Adani of commiting one of the biggest corporate frauds in the world.

In the report released on January 24, Hindenburg has said that the Adani Group has engaged in a brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades. 

Although the Adani Group issued a vague rebuttal on January 26 to the Hindenburg report, the troubles of Adani and his companies have been mounting as investors and observers have little confidence in what Adani says.

Disturbed by the damning report and its loss of credibility in the market, on February 1, the Adani Group withdrew its Follow-on Public Offer (FPO) and subsequently Gautam Adani released a video of his rhetoric about the state of his business.

The opposition parties allege that Adani and Modi play hand in glove with each other and many central public sector undertakings including Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India, public sector banks, and financial institutions are being forced by the Modi regime to invest in loss-making Adani businesses.

It is also alleged that in quid pro quo deals, Adani has been helping Modi with his money to help the latter win elections unscrupulously. Therefore, Modi misuses his position as the PM of India to get business contracts for Adani not only in India but also in other parts of the world.

Last year, for example, there were reports that Modi – in collusion with the Sri Lanka government – got an energy project in Mannar district for the Adani group. According to an NDTV report, the citizens held a protest in Sri Lanka’s biggest city Colombo against the alleged favouring of the Adani Group. 

The locals complained that the Adani Group got the project as part of a “dubious” deal between Modi and Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. It is alleged that the Sri Lanka Parliament passed an amendment to the Electricity Act to facilitate the Adani deal without any bidding in the 500-megawatt solar and wind energy project worth about Rs. 5,000 crore. 

In fact, Modi is known for his collusion with the big corporates who splurge huge money on false publicity to help Modi hoodwink the voters and win elections fraudulently.

In the murky Rafale fighter aircraft deal with Dassault Aviation of France, Modi helped another corporate friend Anil Ambani with the Rafale business contract, although Ambani had no experience in this domain.

The deal was for the sale of 36 Rafale fighter jets – made by Dassault – to the Indian state for 7.8 billion euros. To put this sum into context it is the equivalent of the annual gross domestic product (GDP) of a country such as Benin in West Africa.

While Modi is an illiterate and uncivilized politician, his entire career is built on communal riots and his surreptitious links with the country’s oligarchs who misuse country’s resources to expand their businesses and help Modi and his party in elections.

Their nexus has reduced India to a level of criminalized kleptocracy, in which all the four pillars of democracy have collapsed. The courts in India have lost their relevance, bureaucrats are extremely corrupt, while the police and security forces operate as gangs of criminals.

The Hindenburg report reveals that the Rs. 17.8 trillion (U.S. $218 billion) Adani Group chairman has amassed a net worth of roughly $120 billion, adding over $100 billion in the past 3 years largely through stock price appreciation in the group’s 7 key listed companies, which have spiked an average of 819% in that period.

The report also says that key listed Adani companies have taken on substantial debt, including pledging shares of their inflated stock for loans, putting the entire group on precarious financial footing.

Hindenburg Research adds in its report that criticism of India’s elite businessmen and politicians has increasingly resulted in journalists being imprisoned or outright murdered. Amidst this climate of stifled expression, the report says, corporate fraud has largely gone unchecked.

Meanwhile, the opposition parties – led by Congress – have called for an investigation into the Adani Group’s business deals by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) or a team under the supervision of the Chief Justice of India (CJI).

While the opposition parties in India are mostly extinct, they fail to realize that no investigating officer or court judge can dare to pronounce any judgment against Modi or his friends.

Therefore, soon this case of corporate fraud will also be brushed under the carpet, as it has happened with other cases in which Modi or his cronies are allegedly involved.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of the humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.

He has also been publishing The Integrity Bulletin news magazine since 2018 to cover local and international corruption issues to engage with different stakeholders who are trying to combat corruption in the world.

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