After a court-appointed panel said it cannot conclude any regulatory failure around Adani Group’s stock rallies, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday attacked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for aggressively raising the issue to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said his speech writers will have to “come up with something more outlandish, for him to sustain his lie machine.”
An expert committee appointed by the Supreme Court said in its interim report that markets watchdog Sebi has “drawn a blank” in its probe into alleged violations in money flows from offshore entities into the conglomerate. The panel, however, said there was evidence of a build-up in short positions on Adani Group stocks ahead of the report of US-based short seller Hindenburg Research, and profiting from squaring off positions after prices crashed post-publication of the damning allegations.
The conglomerate controlled by Gautam Adani lost more than $100 billion in market value earlier this year after Hindenburg Research raised several governance concerns.
During the budget session, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tried to corner the ruling BJP by highlighting the perceived proximity of Prime Minister Modi with billionaire Gautam Adani. The issue became a rallying point for the Opposition parties as they mounted pressure for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the matter.
While the government ignored the demands, the apex court set up a committee on March 2 to look into any regulatory failures and suggest reforms for investor protection.
“At this stage, taking into account the explanations provided by SEBI, supported by empirical data, prima facie, it would not be possible for the committee to conclude that there has been a regulatory failure around the allegation of price manipulation,” the six-member panel said.
Reacting to the panel’s report, BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya tweeted, “After people of India put Rahul Gandhi and the Congress in the doghouse for ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ jibe and running a vicious campaign against Rafale, which threatened to jeopardise India’s air defence modernisation program, the Supreme Court appointed Expert Committee, looking into the Adani -Hindenburg report, informs the Court, that at this stage, taking into account the explanations provided by SEBI and supported by empirical data, it is not possible for the Committee to conclude that there has been a regulatory failure around the allegation of price manipulation.”
“Rahul Gandhi’s speech writers will now have to come up with something more outlandish, for him to sustain his lie machine,” he added.
(With inputs from agencies)