On Friday, the Congress alleged that fresh revelations in the Adani issue — made by a foreign publication — indicate that “more than Rs 12,000 crore may have been siphoned out of the country in two years”.
In a statement, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh, dubbed it the “biggest scam” in the history of modern India. He claimed that this was “literally theft” from the pockets of crores of Indians and “not a metaphorical loot”.
The Congress leader also accused the ruling BJP government of “helping” the Adani group acquire assets and that “the BJP is kept flush with electoral bond funds which allows it to buy MLAs at will and break opposition parties.”
Meanwhile, no immediate reaction from the Adani group was available on the allegations.
In his statement, Ramesh said, “This is the biggest scam of modern India. It combines greed and heartlessness with a cold contempt for the people of India. It is based on the conviction that there is no scam that cannot be ‘managed’ and that there is no issue that cannot be diverted from. But the ‘Shahenshah’ is mistaken. India will not be captured by Modani. The people of India will answer in 2024.”
According to Ramesh, the latest revelations in the Financial Times newspaper — which studied 30 Adani coal shipments between 2019 and 2021 amounting to 3.1 million tonnes — found a 52 per cent profit margin even in a low-margin business like coal trading.
Adani Group is an Indian multinational conglomerate, headquartered in Ahmedabad. Founded by Gautam Adani in 1988 as a commodity trading business, the Group’s businesses include port management, electric power generation and transmission, renewable energy, mining, airport operations, natural gas, food processing and infrastructure. More than 60 percent of the Adani Group’s revenue is derived from coal-related businesses.
At its peak, Adani was the largest Indian conglomerate, surpassing Reliance Industries. It lost more than $104 billion in value after fraud and market manipulation allegations by short-seller firm Hindenburg Research. The Adani Group has also attracted other controversies due to reports of stock manipulation, accounting irregularities, cronyism, tax evasion, environmental damage, and suing journalists.
Adani Exports Limited started as a commodity trading company in 1988 and expanded into importing and exporting multiple commodities. With a capital of ₹5 lakh, the company was established as a partnership firm with the flagship company Adani Enterprises, previously Adani Exports. In 1990, the Adani Group developed its own port in Mundra to provide a base for its trading operations. It began construction at Mundra in 1995. In 1998, it became the top net foreign exchange earner for India Inc. The company began coal trading in 1999, followed by a joint venture in edible oil refining in 2000 with the formation of Adani Wilmar.
Adani handled 4 Mt of cargo at Mundra in 2002, becoming the largest private port in India. Later in 2006, the company became the largest coal importer in India with 11 Mt of coal handling. The company expanded its business in 2008, purchasing Bunyu Mine in Indonesia which has 180 Mt of coal reserves. In 2009, the firm began generating 330 MW of thermal power. It also built an edible oil refining capacity in India of 2.2 Mt per annum.