Adani Saga: Rahul Gandhi trains guns on PM, says only Modi could stall an investigation

Gandhi questions whose $1 billion was used to inflate share prices, role of Vinod Adani’s business partners and national security, and the authenticity of former SEBI chief UK Sinha's earlier probe

Congress leader and MP Rahul Gandhi holding the copy of a news paper report during his press briefing on the Adani issue in Mumbai on Thursday, 31 August 2023 (photo courtesy: @INCIndia/Twitter)
Congress leader and MP Rahul Gandhi holding the copy of a news paper report during his press briefing on the Adani issue in Mumbai on Thursday, 31 August 2023 (photo courtesy: @INCIndia/Twitter)

NH Political Bureau

Congress leader and MP Rahul Gandhi took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for using his links with the Adani Group to favour the company.

During a press conference in Mumbai on Thursday, Gandhi raised three crucial questions — about the $ 1 billion that went out of India and returned to be used to inflate share prices, the role of Vinod Adani’s foreign business partners and the role of former SEBI U K Sinha, in whose tenure a probe had cleared the Adani Group of any wrong-doing. After retirement Sinha was appointed as a director of the NDTV board and this raised serious questions about the probe's seriousness, Gandhi said.

Whose money is being used?

Gandhi, the Lok Sabha MP from Wayanad, began his press conference by demanding answers to several critical questions. His first being, “Whose money is being used in these financial manoeuvres? Is it Adani's, or is it someone else's, and if so, whose?” The Congress leader emphasised the need for transparency regarding the sources of these funds, which have raised eyebrows in recent times.

Gandhi held his press conference on Thursday hours after the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), a global network of investigative journalists, published a report that claimed that exclusive documents obtained by it showed that in at least two cases, investors turned out to have widely reported ties to the Adani family, the group’s majority shareholders and helped manipulate Adani companies’ stock prices.

The Financial Times and The Guardian carried news reports based on the OCCRP probe earlier today.

National security issue

Gandhi alleged that Vinod Adani, the elder brother of industrialist Gautam Adani, played a pivotal role in this saga. He also pointed out the involvement of two individuals, Naseer Ali Shaban Ali and Chang Chung Ling, in Adani's business dealings, hinting at the potential complexity of the situation.

One of the most concerning aspects raised by Gandhi was the potential national security implications of these financial activities and the role of Adani’s two foreign partners, Nasser Ali Shaban Ali and Chang Chung Ling. He questioned how a Chinese national, Chang Chung Ling, could be involved in Adani's infrastructure acquisitions as a partner of Vinod Adani and demanded thorough scrutiny.

Gandhi called for a complete investigation into the role of the two foreign nationals in Adani's business ventures. He expressed concern about their potential influence and the implications for India's national interests.

 Institutional capture

The Congress leader highlighted that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had reportedly given the Adani Group a clean chit in its probe. He raised questions about the investigation's impartiality, citing concerns of "institutional capture."

Rahul Gandhi even mentioned that U K Sinha, the former SEBI chief who gave the Adanis a clean chit was now a director of the company-owned NDTV, indicating that no independent investigation had occurred. Gandhi asserted that while Adani may have significant financial clout, the Prime Minister has the power to prevent or allow a thorough investigation into these allegations.      

India's reputation at stake

Rahul Gandhi alluded to the wealthy Indian family with reported links to Prime Minister Modi and the Adani Group. He argued that these allegations could damage India's image on the international stage, especially in forums like the G20 when world leaders were set to arrive in India.

In concluding remarks, the Congress leader called Prime Minister Modi to initiate a comprehensive investigation into the Adani Group's financial affairs. He stressed the need for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to examine the matter thoroughly and ensure transparency. Gandhi pointed out that the Adani Group's financial prowess raised questions about a level playing field for Indian businesses. He argued that it needed to be addressed promptly if wrongdoing was evident.

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