Congress on Adani issue: Any panel other than JPC will be an exercise in exoneration

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said the proposal before the Supreme Court for setting up of a committee by the government can hardly ensure transparency

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NH Web Desk

The Congress on Thursday said a thorough investigation into the Adani issue is necessary, holding that any committee other than a JPC (Joint Parliamentary Committee) will be nothing but an "exercise in legitimisation and exoneration".

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the proposal before the Supreme Court for setting up of a committee by the government can hardly ensure transparency.

"Where the allegations are of close, intertwined proximity between the ruling dispensation and the Adani Group, the setting up of a committee with terms of reference proposed by the Government of India can hardly carry any insignia or reassurance of independence or transparency," he said.

A Supreme Court bench on 13 February while hearing petitions on the Adani-Hindenburg matter, discussed the creation of a committee of experts to examine the regulatory regime post the allegations made by the US-based short-seller.

"It is an exercise initiated by the two principal actors the government and the Adani Group to cover up, avoid, evade and bury all genuine scrutiny. It is becoming clear that the proposed Committee is part of a carefully orchestrated exercise by these vested interests to prevent any real investigation into the Adani Group's relationship with the ruling regime," Ramesh underlined.

"If the prime minister and his government are to be held accountable, any committee other than a JPC will be nothing but an exercise in legitimisation and exoneration," he said.

Ramesh said given the nature of the allegations, it is imperative that the link between Adani and the ruling regime is examined in the full light of day by elected officials accountable to the public.

"An evaluation of the regulatory and statutory regime by experts is in no manner equivalent to an investigation by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC). Such a committee, however competently staffed, cannot be a substitute for a thorough investigation into the political-corporate nexus that has come to light in the last two weeks. It simply does not have the authority, resources, or jurisdiction to examine the issues that the Opposition has raised," he said asserting that a JPC probe on Adani issue is necessary.

He claimed several JPCs have been constituted in the past to inquire into matters of public importance such as irregularities in securities and banking transactions as well as the stock-market scam of 2001.

These reports have been crucial to prosecutions that have followed and have provided the bedrock for legislative changes to prevent similar manipulative practices, he claimed.

The Congress has been demanding a JPC probe into the allegations against the Adani Group by US-based short-seller Hindenburg Research.

The Adani Group has dismissed the allegations as baseless.

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