Senior Congress leader Ajay Maken on Friday asked why the Narendra Modi government was “scared” of forming a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe into the Adani-Hindenburg row, stressing that the issue of handing over strategic sectors like airports and ports to a company, was linked to the country’s national security.
The BJP-ruled Centre’s “dealings” with the Adani Group smacks of “crony capitalism” and the creation of “government-sponsored private monopolies”, he said.
The Congress leader said that the Adani Group enjoyed 30% of the port capacity and 40% of the container capacity of the country.
“The Congress party wants to ask the Modi government why it is scared of forming a JPC on the issue. If the then Narasimha Rao government (Congress) could form a JPC for the Harshad Mehta scam, and Atal Bihari Vajpayee (BJP) for Ketan Parekh scam, then why aren’t you setting up a JPC (for Adani stock rout),” he asked.
The Adani Group stocks have taken a beating on the bourses after US-based short-sheller Hindenburg Research made a litany of allegations, including fraudulent transactions and share-price manipulation, against the business conglomerate led by Gautam Adani. The Adani Group had dismissed the charges as lies, saying it had complied with all laws and disclosure requirements.
Asked about Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s claim in a recent interview that there were scams of over ₹12 lakh crore during the Congress era, Mr. Maken said that the BJP government had failed to arrest or prove anyone guilty of corruption in these cases in the last nine years of its rule.
“If they could not do anything, they have no right to say anything. ..Congress is demanding a JPC, an investigation into the matter. At least grant us that opportunity for the investigation. You are denying us the probe,” he said.
He said the Congress would continue to press the government for a JPC probe into the issue as it was concerned about "the open loot of public exchequer to fund crony capitalists”.
“People want to know how one group with doubtful credentials and alleged links with tax haven-operated offshore shell companies is monopolizing the assets of India, but all the government agencies are either missing from the action or facilitating that very process," the former Union Minister said.
Points to remember
Whenever privatisation of public assets takes place, he said, two things must be taken care of— one, there should be “one tender, open bid”, and second, there should be no monopoly.
“This government has set aside both these things to help the capitalists close to it,” Mr. Maken said.
“What worries me is that the company which has received ₹37,000 crore and ₹1,23,000 crore from entities located abroad has been handed over strategic sectors like airports and ports. Then this is the biggest threat for the country,” he said.
The Congress leader said the country wanted to know “who is the real owner of the black money being routed to India via offshore shell companies operating from tax havens”.
“What is strange is that this government is not even ready to investigate where this money is coming from, whether it is the money from China or Pakistan. We demand a JPC probe or Supreme Court-monitored investigation, but it (government) is not ready for even that. It is possible that the money invested belongs to China or Pakistan,” he said.
“What is strange is that this government is not even ready to investigate where this money is coming from, whether it is the money from China or Pakistan”Ajay MakenSenior Congress leader