The Congress on Monday posed fresh questions about Vinod Adani’s alleged network of shell companies engaged in “opaque” financial transactions, and claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi got his “drumbeaters” to get Parliament adjourned so that the demand for JPC into the Adani issue is not raised.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said Adani Group has repeatedly brushed aside questions about Vinod Adani, elder brother of conglomerate chairperson Gautam Adani, claiming that he is uninvolved with group management and decision-making, but fresh disclosures show this to be a “laughable deception”.
The Opposition has been persistent in its attack on the government, weeks after Adani Group stocks took a beating on the bourses in the wake of US-based short seller Hindenburg Research making a litany of allegations, including fraudulent transactions and share-price manipulation, on the conglomerate.
The Adani Group has dismissed the charges as lies, saying it complies with all laws and disclosure requirements.
“The PM got his drumbeaters to get Parliament adjourned today so that the demand for JPC into the Adani Maha Mega Scam does not get raised,” Ramesh said in a tweet.
Posing a set of three questions to PM Modi as part of the party’s “Hum Adani ke Hain Kaun” series, the Congress general secretary said the posers were about the central role played by Vinod Adani and his “network of shell companies engaged in opaque financial transactions.”
“In the February 19 Hum Adani Ke Hain Kaun, we had pointed to the Adani Group announcement on September 16, 2022, that ‘the Adani Family, through Endeavour Trade and Investment Ltd, a special purpose vehicle, has successfully completed the acquisition of Ambuja Cements Ltd and ACC Ltd’ and a SEBI filing that stated ‘the ultimate beneficial ownership of the Acquirer is held by Mr. Vinod Shantilal Adani and Mrs. Ranjanben Vinod Adani’,” Ramesh said in his statement, which is part of the party’s sub-series of allegations against the conglomerate titled ‘Dikh Raha Hai Vinod’.
“If Vinod Adani is at such arm’s length from the Adani Group, how have Adani Enterprises executives become senior managers at Ambuja Cements and ACC?” Ramesh asked. “Why does the Competition Commission of India assert that Endeavour belongs to the Adani Group?” Ramesh further asked.
Ramesh said media reports show that the shell company Acropolis Trade and Investment owns Xcent Trade and Investment, which in turn owns Endeavour.
“The Mauritius-based Acropolis and Xcent both have Subir Mittra, who heads the Adani Family Office, as a director. Vinod Adani is a director in Acropolis which reported USD 7 billion (Rs 51,400 crore) as revenue and profit (given near-zero expenses) in 2020-21 but zero income and a USD 25,980 loss in 2021-22,” he claimed.
How does a shell company that owns these critical infrastructure firms have revenues of Rs 51,400 crore in one year and zero the next?, Ramesh asked. “Will agencies like the Enforcement Directorate ever investigate where these funds are coming from and where are they going?” he said.
In his statement, Ramesh pointed to various executives connected with the Adani Group, and asked if it was not suggestive of a long established network of Adani executives involved in money-laundering and round-tripping as alleged by governmental and private investigators.
“When will you stop protecting your cronies and financiers and allow the law to take its course?” Ramesh asked the prime minister and urged him to break his “silence” on the issue.