Mandate of expert panel probing Adani issue is limited, says Congress

Party reiterates demand for investigation by Joint Parliamentary Committee

April 27, 2023 02:20 am | Updated 02:20 am IST - New Delhi

Congress party reiterates demand for investigation by Joint Parliamentary Committee behind the Adani controversy.

Congress party reiterates demand for investigation by Joint Parliamentary Committee behind the Adani controversy. | Photo Credit: Reuters

The Congress on Wednesday reiterated its demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe to arrive at the “unvarnished truth” behind the Adani controversy after it emerged that billionaire Gautam Adani’s elder brother, Vinod Adani, resigned as director of three companies of the Adani Group’s port and mining projects in Australia.

In a statement, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said that while his party awaited the report of the Supreme Court-appointed expert committee on the “Adani mega scam”, it noted that the committee’s mandate was limited to violations of securities regulations and that it lacked formal judicial authority over various regulatory and investigative agencies.

“News reports suggest that Gautam Adani’s elder brother Vinod has resigned as director of three companies closely connected to the Adani Group’s Australia port and mining projects. Vinod Adani has previously been alleged to have engaged in ‘brazen stock manipulation’ and ‘accounting fraud’ via ‘a vast labyrinth of offshore shell entities’,” Mr Ramesh alleged.

Also read | Warning bells: On the Adani saga

“Likewise in Australia, Abbot Point Port Holdings controlled by him via shell companies in the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands – helped offload billions of dollars of Adani Group debt via related party transactions aimed at disguising the true extent of the Adani Group’s losses from investors,” the Congress leader added.

Mr. Ramesh claimed that two UAE-based shell companies controlled by him also lent $3.3 billion in opaque funds to the Carmichael project in Australia, as similar offshore entities controlled by him have done with other Adani Group firms.

He added that on February 16, while posing questions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi under the Hum Adani ke Hain Kaun (How are we related to Adani) series, the Congress had pointed out that Vinod Adani-related entities in the UAE were also found by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence to be involved in under-invoicing of power equipment in an alleged scam to the tune of ₹5,500 crore.

“While we await the report of the Supreme Court-appointed expert committee into the Adani Mega Scam, we note that its mandate is limited to violations of securities regulations and that it lacks formal judicial authority over various regulatory and investigative agencies. It will not, for instance, look into whether Prime Minister Modi ‘forced’ the State Bank of India (SBI) to sign an MoU to lend the Adani Group $1 billion over a lunch meeting with Gautam Adani and [then] SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya,” Mr. Ramesh said.

“The committee will also not investigate the true source of the ₹20,000 crore of unaccounted investment in the Adani Group. We, therefore, reiterate the Opposition demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee to examine all the relevant aspects of the Adani Mega Scam and to present the unvarnished truth to the people of India,” he added.

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