The Congress on March 7 raised questions about the Adani Group’s operation in the power sector and alleged that “it was powering the BJP’s electoral fortunes at the expense of Indian consumers”.
Posing a set of three questions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as part of the party’s Hum Adani ke Hain Kaun (HAHK) series, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh asked whether “any of the investigative agencies that are quick to investigate Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s political opponents will look into opaque transactions of the Adani Group”.
Mr. Ramesh claimed that in February 2020, Adani Electricity Mumbai raised $1 billion (₹7,200 crore) in foreign debt from Asian investors, possibly including Chinese entities, and the senior secured notes were listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange. This debt issue reportedly pledged the company’s entire equity capital and accepted stiff conditions that gave these Asian bondholders first claim on immovable and movable properties, book debts, operating cash flows, receivables and present and future revenues.
These lenders also hold the rights to Adani Electricity’s transmission and distribution licences that had been granted by the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission, Mr. Ramesh alleged.
“What will happen to Mumbai if Adani Electricity, which supplies power to two out of three Mumbai households, defaults on this pricey foreign exchange loan?” Mr. Ramesh said.
He asked the government to spell out its plan to ensure that the electricity distribution of Mumbai does not fall into the hands of foreign creditors, especially the Chinese, in the case of a default.
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The Congress leader said that Adicorp Enterprises, a small Ahmedabad-based firm with revenues of only ₹64 crore, had borrowed ₹622 crore from four Adani Group firms and loaned ₹609 crore to Adani Power in 2019-20.
“On January 29, the Adani Group claimed that Adicorp was not a related party which is why these transactions had not been appropriately disclosed. Now we learn that Mukesh M. Shah, an independent director and chairman of the audit committee at Adani Power, is also the founder and managing partner of the firm that audits Adicorp. How can any independent scrutiny of related-party financial transactions occur given these conflicts of interest?” Mr. Ramesh said.
“Are these deep connections helping cover up alleged money-laundering and round-tripping by the Adani Group? Will any of the investigative agencies that are so quick to investigate your political opponents look into these opaque transactions?” he said.
The third question was with regard to the average cost of electricity purchased from Adani Power going up 102%, from ₹2.82 per unit in January 2021 to ₹8.82 per unit in December 2022.
“The entire country knows who runs Gujarat; did you exercise your authority to grant your favourite businessmen another bonanza, this time at the cost of Gujarat’s electricity consumers and taxpayers?” Mr. Ramesh said.