The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance should open an investigation into the allegations of stock manipulation by the Adani Group, members from non-BJP parties demanded at a meeting on Wednesday.
In response, committee Chairperson and BJP MP Jayant Sinha asked the members to submit a written request attaching evidence about the said “market aberrations”.
The demand, according to sources, was raised by Congress MP Manish Tewari, who was backed by Saugata Roy of the Trinamool Congress, Pinaki Mishra and Amar Patnaik of the Biju Janata Dal, and Balashowry Vallabbhaneni of the YSR Congress.
The Opposition members wanted the panel to direct representatives of the Securities and Exchange Board of India, the Reserve Bank of India and the Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs to depose in this connection.
The BJP members, said sources, however argued that the issue was already under investigation by a Supreme Court-appointed committee and therefore a parallel investigation cannot be done by the parliamentary panel.
The Opposition members, however, countered this claim by quoting various precedents.
According to the sources, BJP member and former Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the panel cannot investigate just one firm without holding similar probe into the working of others. The net would be cast far too wide and beyond the capacity of the panel.
Another BJP MP, Manoj Kishorbhai Kotak, as per sources, said that no investor had lost money in the entire episode.
Stocks of Adani Group firms witnessed a free fall after allegations of round tripping made by U.S-based short-seller Hindenburg Research.
The Opposition members said the State Bank of India and the Life Insurance Corporation, who have investments in the group, suffered one of the biggest losses. “Both LIC and SBI are repositories of common man’s savings and they are the ones directly hit, the government cannot ignore it any longer,” one of the Opposition member reportedly said.
The debate on the issue went on for nearly an hour, according to those present at the meeting, at the end of which the Chairperson asked the Opposition members to submit a written application attaching evidence of the reported “market aberrations”.
“This is an unprecedented and bizarre demand. The onus is not on us to prove any wrongdoing. It is for the panel to collectively investigate,” he said.