The Congress on Friday targeted the Narendra Modi government over a purported contract that the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) signed with the Adani Group to import liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) through the group-owned Gangavaram Port.
As part of the Hum Adani ke Hain Kaun [How are we related to Adani] series, in which the Congress poses three questions to Prime Minister Modi on Twitter every day, party general secretary Jairam Ramesh alleged that IOC is now being made to use the Gangavaram Port through an “unfavourable” contract instead of the government-run Visakhapatnam Port.
Mr Ramesh’s latest attack on the government comes on a day when the Congress held nearly two dozen press conferences across the country on the Adani issue.
Mr. Ramesh’s allegation came a day after Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha member Mahua Moitra alleged a “scam” in engaging the Adani-owned port without a tender. The IOC, responding to Ms. Moitra, clarified that its pact to hire the services of the Gangavaram Port for LPG imports was in addition to existing pacts with nearby ports and that there is no take-or-pay agreement. In a take-or-pay contract, a company either takes the product from the other party or pays them a penalty.
“It is now widely known that you [Mr. Modi] have used all the means at your disposal to help Adani [Group] expand its ports business, whether by giving port concessions in the absence of bidding or by inflicting income tax raids on business groups to encourage them to sell their valuable assets to Adani,” Mr. Ramesh said.
“Your government had previously blocked a 2021 bid by the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust for the Dighi Port in Maharashtra, which ended up in Adani’s hands. Now we learn that IOC, which was earlier importing LPG via the government-run Visakhapatnam Port, is instead being made to use the neighbouring Gangavaram Port, and that too via an unfavourable ‘take-or-pay’ contract. Do you view India’s public sector simply as a tool to enrich your cronies?“ he asked.
Mr. Ramesh further pointed out that IOC has clarified that it has only signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Adani Ports and that there is no binding take-or-pay agreement “as of now”.
“Did Adani Ports inadvertently reveal the game before it was finalised? Does the signing of an MoU not clearly indicate the direction in which IOC is being pushed? Does the fact that a take-or-pay contract was at all on the table not betray the fact that Adani was going to be made the primary port for the import of LPG rather than one of many, as IOC has stated,” the Congress leader asked.
Mr. Ramesh’s latest attack on the government comes on a day when the Congress held nearly two dozen press conferences across the country on the Adani issue.