A meeting was called again in the chambers of the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, for floor leaders of parties, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted, a day after both houses of parliament were adjourned early, without getting any work done, amid calls for a probe.
The parties are demanding a discussion on the risk to Indian investors from the plunge in shares of the Adani Group following fraud claims by US short-seller Hindenburg Research. They also asked for an investigation by a parliamentary panel or a Supreme Court-appointed committee.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla denied their requests, asking members “not to make unsubstantiated claims” while Rajya Sabha chairperson, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, rejected all motions by the opposition, saying they were “not in order”. Infuriated, opposition members shouted slogans and protested the moves.
Gautam Adani’s ports-to-energy business empire, which counts the state-run Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) and the State Bank of India (SBI) among key investors, has lost more than $100 billion in value since the charges were made public last week.
“Keeping public interest in mind, we want a thorough probe into the Adani issue, either by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) or a Supreme Court-monitored panel. There should also be day-to-day reporting of the investigation on the issue,” Mr Kharge told reporters.
AAP MP Sanjay Singh told news agency ANI, “I have written a letter to PM (Prime Minister Narendra Modi), Enforcement Directorate, and the CBI demanding the confiscation of [Gautam] Adani’s passport, or else If he also flees from the country like other industrialists and capitalists, then crores of people of this country will be left with nothing.”
Since the report came out last week, the Adani Group’s finance chief has called the Hindenburg report a “malicious combination of selective misinformation and stale, baseless and discredited allegations that have been tested and rejected by India’s highest courts”.
On Sunday, the firm issued a 413-page statement that it said rebutted all of Hindenburg’s claims, calling it an attack on the “growth story and ambition of India”. Hindenburg said Adani’s statement failed to answer most of the questions raised in its report.
On Thursday, hours after the group cancelled a fresh sale of shares in a Follow on Public Offer or FPO, its founder Gautam Adani released a video message to investors insisting that the fundamentals of his group are “strong” and that its record on paying back debt was “impeccable”.
At the stock market’s open on Friday, shares in the group’s flagship firm, Adani Enterprises, fell 10 per cent, prompting the suspension of trading. Adani Power, Adani Green Energy, Adani Total Gas and Adani Transmission also hit their trading stops.
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