Hindenburg report has economic, moral impact on country: Opposition in RS

Questioning the Centre’s silence on the report’s allegations, Congress MP Digvijaya Singh accused the government of protecting crony capitalists who amassed wealth at the expense of the common man

Published - February 07, 2023 10:31 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar conducts the proceedings of the House during the Budget Session of Parliament in New Delhi on February 7, 2023.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar conducts the proceedings of the House during the Budget Session of Parliament in New Delhi on February 7, 2023. | Photo Credit: ANI

Raising the Hindenburg report’s allegations against the Adani group, the Opposition used the debate on the motion of thanks in the Rajya Sabha to seek a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the growth of the group over the last eight years since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister. Speakers from the treasury benches spoke mainly about the works of the government in various spheres.

Spearheading the Opposition’s attack, senior Congress MP Digvijaya Singh said that the Amrit Kaal mentioned in the President’s speech — referring to the 25 years left before the centenary of Indian independence — was just for 21 people in the country whose personal wealth was equal to the collective wealth of 70 crore poor people. “There is a 121% increase in the wealth of these people during the pandemic,” he said, adding that the Adani group was the biggest beneficiary from this regime.

Mr. Singh said Parliament should be allowed to discuss the content of the Hindenburg report, adding that the Centre should agree to a JPC on the “scam” unearthed in the report. It also pointed to the failure of regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), he said. “The silence on the report cast aspersions on the intentions of the Centre. The Government of India must come out with a clear statement on how far is the report is correct,” he said, accusing the Centre of trying to protect crony capitalists and pointing to the Rafale deal as another example of his claim.

‘Double standards’

Members of the Trinamool Congress, the Left and other Opposition parties also raised the matter. TMC leader Derek O’Brien said that the Centre consistently weakened institutions and used investigating agencies against Opposition leaders. “Of the 5,422 money-laundering cases registered, 98% have been done in the last nine years,” Mr. O’Brien said. He added that only 25 people who supported the ruling party had been targeted by the Enforcement Directorate during this period. “You cannot have one rule for the Opposition and opponents and one rule for your friends and cronies,” he said.

Criticising SEBI’s inaction on the Adani issue, he said that the regulator should have played the role of a watchdog. “The SEBI also has a preamble and it is mandated to protect the interest of investors and regulate the securities market. Why was the SEBI sleeping? Why the inaction?” he asked.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Tiruchi Siva said that a JPC was a process of democracy which should be used to probe the Hindenburg report on Adani, claiming that the report had impacted India morally and economically. “What is the government doing?” he asked. Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP John Brittas alleged that the Centre was using patriotism as a shield to help a few businessmen.

‘Sent by God’

Earlier, while moving the motion, BJP MP K. Laxman listed several schemes of the Centre, saying that all sections of the people have benefited from such schemes. “Modi means peace, prosperity and development. Modi ji has worked towards creating a mass movement in the direction of national unity and integrity,” he added.

He claimed that Mr. Modi had been sent by God as his messenger to make India a Vishwa Guru. “A Narendra, Swami Vivekananda, nearly 200 years ago visited America as a delegate to the World’s Parliament of Religions to spread the greatness of our country and Hinduism. Again, after 200 years, one more Narendra, that is Narendra Modi, was sent by God as his messenger to spread the greatness of our country and make India, a Vishwa Guru. Hence, I request everyone to support him,” he said.

Supporting the motion, senior BJP MP Prakash Javadekar said that it was the robust common sense of the people of India that ensured repeated victories for the BJP in elections.

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