Powered by

Adani row: Congress to launch nationwide protests on Monday

Party to stage protests in front of LIC, SBI offices

Representative image | PTI Representative image | PTI

The Congress on Sunday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's “silence” over the Hindenburg Research report against the Adani Group and said the party will launch a nationwide protest on Monday. The party will stage protests in front of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and State Bank of India (SBI) offices while its MPs will hold a demonstration near the Gandhi statue in Parliament House.

"PM Modi's friend Adani is accused of the world's biggest scam. But PM Modi is silent in this whole matter. No investigation, no action. The Congress is going to hold a countrywide protest tomorrow (6 February) against this silence of the Modi government. Keep the answer ready, the public is coming," the party said in a tweet.

The US-based activist short-seller had made a litany of allegations, including fraudulent transactions and share price manipulation at the Gautam Adani-led group. Following this, the group stocks have taken a beating on the bourses over the last few days.

The opposition parties argue that the investment of the Adani Group in public sector banks such as the SBI and LIC has had a big impact on the savings of the middle class. They also allege that the government is not allowing the issue to be discussed in parliament. On Friday, the Congress and 16 other opposition parties had demanded a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) or Supreme Court-monitored probe into the Hindunberg report.

The 10 listed Adani group firms have faced a combined erosion of over Rs 8.5 lakh crore in just six trading sessions. Adani Enterprises also had to withdraw a Rs 20,000 crore share sale following the setback.

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said the party has decided to pose three questions to the prime minister daily, starting Sunday. "The eloquent silence of the PM on the Adani MahaMegaScam has forced us to start a series, HAHK-Hum Adanike Hain Kaun. We will be posing 3 questions to the PM daily beginning today. Here are the first three. Chuppi Todiye Pradhan Mantri-ji," he tweeted.

Posing the questions, Ramesh said Vinod Adani, the brother of Gautam Adani, was named in the Panama Papers and the Pandora Papers as someone who operates offshore entities in the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands.

"He is alleged to have engaged in 'brazen stock manipulation' and 'accounting fraud' via 'a vast labyrinth of offshore shell entities'. You have spoken often about your sincerity and 'niyat' (intention) in fighting corruption and even subjected the nation to the heavy costs of demonetisation," Ramesh said.

"What does the fact that a business entity you are well acquainted with faces serious allegations tell us about the quality and sincerity of your investigations? the Congress general secretary said.

Ramesh alleged that over the years, PM Modi "misused" agencies like the Enforcement Directorate, Central Bureau of Investigation and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence to "intimidate" his political opponents and to "punish" business houses that do not fall in line with his "cronies' financial interests".

What action has been taken, if ever, to investigate the serious allegations made over the years against the Adani Group, he asked.

Ramesh also asked if there was any hope of a fair and impartial investigation in the matter under the prime minister.

"How is it possible that one of India's largest business groups, one that has been allowed to build monopolies in airports and seaports, could have escaped serious scrutiny for so long despite persistent allegations?" Ramesh said.

With PTI inputs

📣 The Week is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@TheWeekmagazine) and stay updated with the latest headlines