Targeting the government, the Congress on Saturday said the G20 theme is ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ but Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to actually believe in “One Man, One Government, One Business Group”.
After US research firm Hindenburg alleged “irregularities” and charged the Adani Group with stock price manipulation, the Congress has been questioning the financial dealings of billionaire Gautam Adani’s conglomerate. The Adani Group, however, has denied all the allegations made in the Hindenburg report and claimed there had been no wrongdoing on its part.
In a statement, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said that in the backdrop of the 2023 G20 Summit in Delhi, it is worth recalling Modi’s many exhortations at previous meetings of the grouping for the international community to crack down on corruption and money laundering.
The Congress leader said that at the 2014 Brisbane G20 meeting, PM Modi called for global cooperation to “track down and unconditionally extradite money launderers”, “to eliminate safe havens for economic offenders” and to “break down the web of complex international regulations and excessive banking secrecy that hide the corrupt and their deeds”.
Then, in 2018, at the Buenos Aires G20 summit, Ramesh said that PM Modi presented a nine-point agenda “for action against fugitive economic offences and asset recovery”.
“The PM has not simply facilitated the creation of Modi-made Monopolies (3M) for his close friends, the Adanis, in critical sectors like ports, airports, power and roads using all the tools at his disposal, he has systematically blocked all investigations into Adani’s wrongdoing by agencies as varied as SEBI, CBI, ED, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and the Serious Fraud Investigation Office. The PM’s brazenness would be laughable if his complicity in high-level corruption and economic offences were not so serious,”said Ramesh.
He alleged that this ensures that “tax havens are safe for Adani’s close friends and that they continue to enjoy the protection of excessive banking secrecy and complex international regulations.”
Ramesh added that the revelation that at least two opaque funds — alleged to have done round-tripping, money laundering and to have violated securities laws — are directly connected to Adani is the most recent example of how enfeebled agencies have been made “subservient to the Adanis’ and the PM’s corporate interests”,
“No less a body than the Supreme Court’s Expert Committee noted in its damning report how SEBI had itself deleted the requirement for overseas funds to report their actual ownership (this was something that it belatedly tried to undo in June 2023 when it reintroduced reporting requirements, long after the Adani horse had bolted). Would it (SC Expert Committee) have done so without pressure from the top?” Ramesh wanted to know.
Ramesh alleged that the PM’s ‘nine-point agenda’ is equally laughable considering the ease with which the BJP allowed economic offenders like Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi and Mehul ‘Bhai’ Choksi to flee India. “The government itself has admitted that it has been able to bring back only two of 72 major economic offenders in recent years,” he alleged.
Ramesh noted that the G20 is intended to be a productive gathering of the major economies of the world and is aimed at dealing with global problems in a manner that is cooperative and collaborative.
The Congress general secretary said, “President Putin may have stayed away, but Prince Potemkin has been in full display with slums being either covered up or demolished, rendering thousands homeless. Stray animals have been cruelly rounded up and mistreated, only to burnish the PM’s image. The G20 slogan is ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’. However, the PM seems to actually believe in ‘One Man, One Government, One Business Group’.”