The Congress, questioning the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the alleged Adani Group “stock scam”, has decided to pose three questions every day to Mr. Modi on the issue. Opposition parties, meanwhile, will sit together in Parliament on Monday to chart the next course of the protests. The Budget session witnessed disruptions last week as the Opposition demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe or a probe monitored by the Supreme Court monitored into the issue. Opposition MPs will also hold protests on Monday in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament against the Centre’s silence.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said in New Delhi on Sunday that the Centre has maintained a “loud silence” which smacks of collusion. He said Mr. Modi’s silence on the scam had forced the party to start a series of campaigns named HAHK — Hum Adani ke hain kaun.
Mr. Ramesh said that in its response to the Panama Papers expose, on April 4, 2016 the Union Finance Ministry had announced that the Prime Minister had personally directed a multi-agency investigative group to monitor financial flows to and from offshore tax havens. Quoting Mr. Modi’s statement on eliminating safe tax havens, made at the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China on September 5 2016, Mr. Ramesh said the Centre cannot hide from saying “ Hum Adani ke hain kaun.”
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As the first question, Mr. 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. “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?” he asked.
In his second question, Mr. Ramesh said the Centre used federal agencies to intimidate political opponents and to punish business houses that do not fall in line. “What action has been taken, if ever, to investigate the serious allegations made over the years against the Adani Group? Is there any hope of a fair and impartial investigation under you?” he asked.
The Congress general secretary asked how it was 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. “Other business groups have been harassed and raided for much less. Was the Adani Group essential to a dispensation that has profited from ‘anti- corruption’ rhetoric all of these years?” Mr. Ramesh asked.
India’s economic image not affected: Finance Minister
In her statement on the issue, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said on Saturday that India's economic image is not affected due to Adani Group's recent decision to pull out ₹20,000 crore FPO amid allegations of financial wrongdoings.
The Finance Minister said there has been an accretion of $8 billion to the forex reserves in the last two days alone.
"...our macroeconomic fundamentals or our economy's image, none of which has been affected. Yes, FPOs (follow-on public offers) come in, and FIIs (foreign institutional investors) get out," Ms. Sitharaman told reporters in New Delhi.
The Minister said there are "fluctuations" in every market but the accretion over the last few days establishes the fact that the perception of both India and its inherent strengths is intact.