What is stopping PM from probing 'Adani, Ambani' allegation, asks Jairam

Days after PM Modi accused Congress of having a deal with "Ambani and Adani", Ramesh said the prospect of losing elections has unnerved Modi

Narendra Modi campaigns in Maharashtra (photo: PTI)
Narendra Modi campaigns in Maharashtra (photo: PTI)


Prime Minister Narendra Modi's accusation of the Congress party being supplied "cash loaded in tempos" and calling it "chori ka maal" begs the question why the PM took no action against the so called black money, Congress MP and general-secretary Jairam Ramesh said on Friday.

Days after the prime minister accused the Congress of having a "deal" with "(Mukesh) Ambani and (Gautam) Adani", Ramesh said the prospect of losing elections, and likelihood of an investigation into the allegations have unnerved Modi.

"On 8 May 2024 the PM accused Adani and Ambani of supplying the opposition with bags of cash, transported in tempos, describing the alleged cash as 'chori ka maal.' This unexpected attack on India's 'top wealth creators' raises several questions," Ramesh said in a statement.

He questioned how the PM knew that Adani and Ambani supplied bags of cash loaded in tempos. "If he has this knowledge, why has he not done anything about it? What has prevented him from using his pet investigative agencies against Adani and Ambani if he has such detailed and actionable information?" he asked.

Ramesh said the Congress party and particularly Rahul Gandhi have long questioned the PM's close relationship with Adani and other "monopolists".

"In 2023, we asked the PM 100 pointed questions under the Hum Adani ke Hain Kaun (HAHK) series. Is the PM now breaking his long silence with a confession to the nation about receiving bags of cash in tempos?" he asked.

Accusing the prime minister of having a "close and durable relationship" with Adani, he said, "the length to which the PM has gone to protect Adani's illegalities, is well known to most Indians".

Ramesh in the statement also mentioned the allegations of "benami (proxy) funds" being reinvested in the Adani group, as well as a Financial Times report which claimed that the price of coal imported by Adani from Indonesia rose by 52 per cent by the time it reached India. He also alleged that India's foreign policy was being used to benefit the industrialist.

"There is strong evidence that Rs 20,000 crore of benami funds taken out of India in this manner (over-invoicing) have been brought back and reinvested in Adani Group companies by close Adani associates Chang Chung-Ling and Nasser Ali Shahban Ahli. At the peak of their investment, Chang and Ahli controlled between 8 and 14 percent of shares in Adani Power, Adani Enterprises, Adani Ports, and Adani Transmissions in complete violation of SEBI regulations," Ramesh claimed.

Referring to the allegations in the Financial Times report, Ramesh said, "In Gujarat, the price of electricity bought from Adani power rose 102 percent between 2021 and 2022." He also alleged misuse of investigative agencies to enrich the Adani Group by handing them "monopolies in airports, ports, cement, electricity and defence".

"The most egregious example was the forced sale of India's second-largest airport in Mumbai to Adani. The previous owner had contested the Adani takeover but agreed to its terms after CBI and ED raids. The CBI and ED investigations disappeared after Adani acquired the prized airport," he said.

He alleged that the prime minister used India's foreign policy to "enrich his cronies," rather than focusing on countering growing Chinese influence in India's neighbourhood.

Ramesh added that the prospect of losing power, and likelihood of an investigation in the allegations has "unnerved" the PM. "It is very clear that the prospect of losing power and the likelihood of a JPC to investigate the Adani MegaScam after 4 June 2024 has unnerved the PM. Ironically, he has trapped himself with his panicked remarks on Ambani-Adani, from which he will find it difficult to extricate himself. The chickens are coming home to roost, and the old order is collapsing," he said.

For the first time during the Lok Sabha elections, Modi on Wednesday accused the Congress of striking a "deal" with "Ambani and Adani", and asked if the party had received "tempo loads of black money" from the two industrialists for Gandhi to stop "abusing" them.

In a change of narrative on the "Ambani-Adani" issue, which was until now used by the Congress to attack Modi and his government at the Centre, the prime minister demanded that the party explain why it had stopped raising the issue as its "shehzada (prince, a mocking reference to Gandhi)" used to do for the past five years and asked if it had struck a "sauda (deal)".

On the same day, Gandhi dared Modi to have the CBI or ED initiate a probe into whether Adani and Ambani had sent black money to his party.

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