Supreme Court Committee Formed to Give Safe Passage to Adani Group
While Adani is accused of a serious financial crime, the Supreme Court is trying to brush the case under the carpet with the formation of a toothless committee.
By Rakesh Raman
The Supreme Court of India has formed a perfunctory committee which is expected to exonerate the embattled Adani Group from all the alleged financial frauds reported by credible global agencies and media organizations.
The Supreme Court has also casually asked the market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to complete its ongoing investigation into the irregularities of the Adani Group in two months and file a status report.
Such deceptive measures by the court are aimed to give a clean chit to Adani. Oligarch Gautam Adani, who is a close partner of prime minister (PM) Narendra Modi, has welcomed the court decision. In a tweet on March 2, Adani said, “The Adani Group welcomes the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court. It will bring finality in a time bound manner. Truth will prevail.”
In the past when Modi or his associates were accused in such cases, the Supreme Court took questionable decisions to favor Modi or formed committees which could not dare to point the finger at Modi or his friends.
It has happened in cases such as the Rafale corruption case, Gujarat massacre case, Pegasus spyware case, draconian demonetization decision, farmers’ protests, PM-CARES Fund of PM Modi, and many others.
While Adani is accused of a serious financial crime, the Supreme Court is trying to brush the case under the carpet with the formation of a toothless committee which cannot file any report that can get Adani prosecuted and convicted.
In all probability, the findings of the report will not be made public and Adani will be acquitted of all the charges. Subsequently, Adani, Modi, and Modi’s colleagues will silence the opposition voices by saying that the Supreme Court has found that Adani is honest and no fraud has happened in this case.
SCOPE OF INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION
A recent investigative report of Hindenburg Research accused Adani of commiting one of the biggest corporate frauds in the world. In the report released on January 24, Hindenburg said that the Adani Group has engaged in a brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades.
When the opposition leaders questioned Modi in the parliament on the Modi government’s complicity in the Adani fraud, Modi did not even touch the Adani issue. Rather, he delivered a long rhetoric to praise himself and baselessly accuse the opposition party Congress of corruption.
In fact, it is a clear case of grand corruption and money laundering for which Adani or his associates should have been taken into custody for proper investigation. The Hindenburg report states that Adani’s frauds included the formation of offshore shell entities to generate artificial turnover and money laundering.
But the SEBI and other law-enforcement agencies turned a blind eye to this alleged fraud and never tried to reveal the information publicly about these shell entities and the money laundered through them because Adani is a close friend of Modi.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which sets global standards on beneficial ownership transparency, had agreed in March 2022 for tougher global beneficial ownership rules to stop criminals from hiding their illicit activities and dirty money behind secret corporate structures.
But the Indian agencies have deliberately ignored the FATF rules on beneficial ownership and did not publicly release the real beneficial ownership registers of Adani Group entities. It is possible that the dirty money is being used to support the terrorist financing activities that FATF is supposed to monitor.
Such reports are already coming. A March 2, 2023 report reveals that an entity related to the Adani Group financially supported a company that violated sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on trade with North Korea.
According to the report, the sanctioned company was owned by sons of Chang Chung-Ling, an Adani Group associate who appeared in the Hindenburg report for his directorship of Adani entities.
Now, the committee formed by the Supreme Court and the law-enforcement agencies should investigate all such allegations and live-stream their interaction with the accused involved in this case.
The investigating agencies should also reveal if the corruption money made in the Rafale deal or the PM-CARES Fund has been invested in the Adani Group, as these cases have never been probed thoroughly.
Since the Supreme Court committee or the other law-enforcement agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) or the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are not expected to act honestly, the Adani case should be prosecuted in international forums outside India.
The U.S., for example, can treat this case of significant corruption under Section 7031(c) of the annual Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act or the Global Magnitsky sanctions program. Similarly, the UK can prosecute it under the UK Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions Regime.
Finally, the Modi-Adani case of grand corruption should be handled by the International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC) proposed by Integrity Initiatives International.
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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