Congress questions the addition of five Adani stocks to NSE indices

Lakhs of hapless investors are still at risk of being forced to bail out collapsing Adani companies with their hard-earned savings, alleged Congress’ communication chief, Jairam Ramesh

Published - February 27, 2023 09:46 pm IST - New Delhi

Congress general secretary in-charge Communications Jairam Ramesh. FIle

Congress general secretary in-charge Communications Jairam Ramesh. FIle | Photo Credit: ANI

The Congress on February 27, 2023, as part of its ongoing ‘Hum Adani Ke Hain Kaun’ series of questions, asked why the stocks of five more Adani Group companies had been added to the National Stock Exchange (NSE) index despite their crash in the stock market.

“Even as the leading market index providers MSCI, S&P Dow Jones and FTSE Russell review the weighting of Adani Group firms, the NSE has failed to take any serious action to protect investors,” the Congress’ communication chief, Jairam Ramesh, said.

“Instead, the NSE announced on 17 February 2023 that an additional five Adani Group companies currently crashing in the stock markets would be included in no less than 14 indices,” he said.

On Monday, The Hindu had reported on financial experts’ plea for an urgent review by the NSE Board and the stock market regulator on the inclusion of Adani Group stocks in the NSE indices with effect from March 31, citing the ongoing meltdown in these firms’ stock prices.

“This has caused many financial advisers to advise their clients not to invest in funds that use those indices as benchmarks. But lakhs of hapless investors are still at risk of being forced to bail out collapsing Adani companies with their hard-earned savings,” Mr. Ramesh cautioned.

“Are you putting pressure on the NSE to bail out your close friend? Why is SEBI [Securities Exchange Board of India] not being allowed to take action to ensure that lakhs of investors are not duped into investing in a collapsing business group?” Mr. Ramesh asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an open statement.

The Congress leader also said that with the continuing sell-off in Adani Group stocks, the value of the Life Insurance Corporation’s (LIC) holdings in the group had fallen by a “shocking” ₹52,000 crore since December 31, 2022, and was now worth ₹32,000 crore.

“... The entire profit made by the LIC and its crores of policyholders has been wiped out, which we now know was due to stock market manipulation and money laundering, has been wiped out and caused a major loss to LIC,” Mr. Ramesh asserted.

“Who forced this pillar of India’s financial system to take such a risky exposure to your favourite businessman? When will you be held accountable for this gambling with the savings of India’s citizens?” he asked.

Mr. Ramesh also alleged that the Adani Group was handed the project to redevelop Dharavi in Mumbai despite a Dubai-based company, Seclink Technology Corporation, emerging as the highest bidder in a November 2018 tendering exercise.

While that tender was cancelled in November 2020 because of delays in the transfer of Indian Railways land, Mr. Ramesh pointed out that a fresh tender with new conditions had been issued in October 2022, which the Adani Group had won despite a bid that was ₹2,131 crore lower than the original winning bid.

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