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Hum Adani Ke Hai Kaun, Episode 2: Congress questions Modi govt over LIC investments in Adani

Opposition party is posing 3 questions to Modi govt every day as part of its campaign. Senior leader Jairam Ramesh challenges PM to bring his 'eloquent, deafening' silence.

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New Delhi: Stepping up its ‘Hum Adani Ke Hai Kaun’ campaign Monday, the Congress party asked three questions to the Modi government about the Life Insurance Corporation’s (LIC) shareholding in the Adani Group.

As a part of the campaign series launched Sunday, the opposition party will put forth three questions every day to the Modi government over its alleged collusion with the conglomerate, whose activities are under the radar after a report by US-based short-selling firm Hindenburg Research.

On January 24, Hindenburg Research released the report alleging the Adani Group had “engaged in brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades”.

Posted on Twitter by Congress general secretary in-charge of communications Jairam Ramesh, Monday’s questions were centred around the investment by the LIC in the Adani Group.

 “Your government has a track record of bailing out failing disinvestments such as IDBI Bank, New India Assurance and General Insurance Corporation using LIC funds. It’s one thing to bail out public sector companies and quite another to use the savings of 30 crore loyal policyholders to enrich your friends. 

“How did LIC make such a heavy allocation to the risky Adani Group that even private fund managers had steered clear of? Is it not the duty of the government to ensure that vital public sector financial institutions are more conservative in their investments than their private sector counterparts? Or was this another case of your ‘Mann Ki Banking’ to benefit your cronies?” the first question read.

The second question was about whether the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), or the Ministry of Finance raised any question over the allegations of financial fraud against the Adani Group.

“The allegations of fraud and money-laundering against the Adani Group have been known for some time. There have been many questions over who are the ultimate beneficial owners of major funds investing in the Adani Group. There have been as many as four major fraud investigations including one by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) into the true ownership of its offshore investors. Given this knowledge, did anyone in the PMO, Ministry of Finance Or the LIC itself raise any concerns about these questionable investments? Were such concerns overruled and, if so, by whom?” the party asked.

The third question was about the steps the government would take to gain the confidence of 34 lakh retail shareholders of the LIC.

“After the first selloff following the Hindenburg allegations, the value of Adani Group stocks held by LIC fell by $32,000 crore, bringing the value of those holdings to <56,142 crore on 27 January 2023 by LIC’s own admission. Since then several Adani infrastructure stocks have further crashed by another 50%,” it said. “Will you share the true extent of LIC’s losses from its Adani investments after 24 January? The listed price of LIC itself has fallen by 14% in the last two weeks compared with a dip of 2% in the Nifty50 index. As LIC’s misguided Adani investments are eroding the confidence of its 34 lakh retail shareholders, What steps will you take to ease their concerns?” 

Ramesh also took a swipe at Modi’s silence over the entire Adani controversy, saying that it was “not just eloquent but also deafening”. “Chuppi Todiye Pradhan Mantriji (Break your silence, prime minister),” the former Union minister tweeted.

(Edited by Tony Rai)

Also Read: Adani Group ‘no ordinary conglomerate’, Congress seeks probe into ‘damning’ Hindenburg report


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