The Congress on Saturday, as part of its ongoing Hum Adanike Hain Kaun series of questions, asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi if an influential Union Minister had called business leaders to invest in the now scrapped Follow-on Public Offer (FPO) by the Adani Group.
“Mahashivaratri today and along with it here is HAHK (Hum Adanike Hain Kaun). The 13th set of questions to the PM. Aaj Toh Chuppi Todiye Pradhan Mantriji! [Break your silence today, Prime Minister]” tweeted Congress communication chief Jairam Ramesh along with a one-page statement.
“Is it true that a high-profile Union Minister with longstanding commercial links made personal calls to five or six of the most well-known businesspersons on behalf of Gautam Adani and asked them to invest their personal funds in the FPO to save Gautambhai from embarrassment? Does this not represent a conflict of interest worth investigating? Did this Union Minister act on instructions from you?”Mr. Ramesh asked in his statement.
Further, the Congress leader also asked if the business leaders were told that the FPO would be subsequently cancelled and the money would be returned to investors as the move was only to save the reputation of Mr. Adani.
“Is it not a violation of Indian securities regulations to hide this relevant information from most investors and only to share it with a select few? Is it ethical to dupe FPO investors in this way?” asked Mr. Ramesh.
He also questioned why the Life Insurance Corporation of India (that bid ₹299 crore), State Bank of India Employees’ Pension Fund (bid ₹99 crore) and SBI Life Insurance Company (bid ₹125 crore) participated in the FPO despite the fact that the market price had dropped far below the issue price.
“Were instructions issued to LIC and SBI to deploy the savings of crores of Indians to once again bail out the Adani Group?” asked the Congress leader.