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Cong presses for JPC to probe Adani issue

‘Mandate of SC-appointed panel limited’

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NEW DELHI, April 26 (PTI): A Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Adani issue is essential to present the “unvarnished truth” to the people, the Congress said on Wednesday after billionaire Gautam Adani’s elder brother reportedly resigned as director of three companies.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said that while the Congress awaits the report of the Supreme Court-appointed Expert Committee on the “Adani mega scam”, it notes that its mandate is limited to violations of securities regulations and lacks formal judicial authority over various regulatory and investigative agencies.

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News reports suggest that Gautam Adani’s elder brother Vinod has resigned as director of three companies closely connected to the Adani Group’s Australia port and mining projects, Ramesh said in a statement.

“Vinod Adani has previously been alleged to have engaged in ‘brazen stock manipulation’ and ‘accounting fraud’ via ‘a vast labyrinth of offshore shell entities’,” he alleged.

“Likewise in Australia, Abbot Point Port Holdings – controlled by him via shell companies in the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands – helped offload billions of dollars of Adani Group debt via related party transactions aimed at disguising the true extent of the Adani Group’s losses from investors,” the Congress leader alleged.

Two UAE-based shell companies controlled by him also lent USD 3.3 billion in opaque funds to the Carmichael project in Australia, as similar offshore entities controlled by him have done with other Adani Group firms, he said.

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The opposition led by the Congress has been seeking a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe after the US-based Hindenburg Research made a litany of allegations against the Adani Group, including fraudulent transactions and share-price manipulation.

The Gautam Adani-led group has dismissed the charges as lies, and said they comply with all laws and disclosure requirements.

“As we pointed out in our February 16, 2023 Hum Adani ke Hain Kaun (HAHK) questions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vinod Adani-related entities in the UAE were also found by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence to be involved in the power equipment under-invoicing scam under which Rs 5,500 crore was allegedly syphoned out of India,” Ramesh alleged.

“While we await the report of the Supreme Court-appointed Expert Committee into the Adani Mega Scam, we note that its mandate is limited to violations of securities regulations and that it lacks formal judicial authority over various regulatory and investigative agencies,” he said.

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It will not, for instance, look into whether Prime Minister Modi allegedly “forced” the State Bank of India (SBI) to sign an MoU to lend the Adani Group USD billion over a lunch meeting with Gautam Adani and SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya, Ramesh said.

The committee will also not investigate the true source of the Rs 20,000 crore of unaccounted investment in the Adani Group, he said.

“We, therefore, reiterate the opposition demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee to examine all the relevant aspects of the Adani Mega Scam and to present the unvarnished truth to the people of India,” Ramesh said.

Posting his statement on twitter, Ramesh urged the prime minister to break his “silence” on the issue.

The Congress has also posed a set of 100 questions to Prime Minister Modi on the Adani issue.

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