Indian opposition protests against govt silence on Adani scandal

New Delhi, Feb 6 (EFE).- The Indian government’s silence on allegations of share-market fraud against billionaire Gautam Adani – which has cost him over $60 billion in losses – and its refusal to launch a formal investigation triggered protests by the opposition on Monday in several cities.

“The opposition lawmakers protested (…) demanding an investigation into the Adani scan. The (Narendra) Modi government is not ready to debate the issue, nor ready to form a committee to investigate it,” main opposition party Indian National Congress tweeted.

The protest, which took place in front of the parliament in New Delhi and was joined by dozens of opposition leaders, was complemented by demonstrations in several city of India, led by regional and youth wings of the Congress.

Leaders of most opposition parties held a meeting on Monday to draw a roadmap on the issue, the INC said, after the Adani controversy was not tabled for discussion in the parliament despite repeated requests.

The opposition accuses Modi of blocking an investigation against Adani – who has openly supported the leader and received his patronage – two weeks after the publication of a report in which an United States-based short-seller accused the conglomerate of manipulating stocks and fraud.

Since the report was released, the stock value of the group’s flagship firm Adani Enterprises have crashed by 52.8 percent, from 3,389 rupees ($41) to $1,600 ($20) as of Monday, according to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Opposition parties said that the collapse could seriously affect common citizens as public firms Life Insurance Corporation and the State Bank of India have massively invested in the firm.

Although a scheduled follow-up public offering (FPO) of Adani Enterprises, just after the expose, was reported to have been subscribed 100 percent just a day after selling merely 3 percent of the shares on offer, the company canceled it a day later citing the fluctuating market.

The market crash has hit all companies of the conglomerate, causing total losses of over $60 billion to Adani, who slid from the third person in the Forbes world rich list to the 19th position, with his fortune estimated at $59.3 billion as of Monday.

The Adani group has already made news in the past over allegations of fraud. In 2012 a leaked report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India accused the government of Gujarat – headed by Modi at the time – of favoring certain big industrialists of the country, including Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani, of Reliance Industries. EFE


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