New Delhi: A thorough investigation into the Adani issue is necessary and the proposal before the Supreme Court for setting up of a committee by the government can hardly ensure transparency, the Congress said on Thursday.
Any committee other than a JPC will be nothing but an "exercise in legitimisation and exoneration", Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said.
The party also asked the government three questions as part of the 'Hum Adani Ke Hain Kaun' series, about why it was not initiating investigation into the alleged shell companies linked to the group. The party will hold press conferences in 23 cities across the country on Friday to highlight the alleged scam.
Govt doesn't want genuine investigation
"Where the allegations are of close, intertwined proximity between the ruling dispensation, the government of India, and the Adani Group, the setting up of a committee with terms of reference proposed by the government of India can hardly carry any insignia or reassurance of independence or transparency," he said.
"It is an exercise initiated by the two principal actors, the government and the Adani Group, to cover up, avoid, evade and bury all genuine scrutiny. It is becoming clear that the proposed committee is part of a carefully orchestrated exercise by these vested interests to prevent any real investigation into the Adani Group's relationship with the ruling regime," the Congress leader alleged.
"If Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government are to be held accountable, any committee other than a JPC will be nothing but an exercise in legitimisation and exoneration," he claimed.
Shell companies in offshore tax havens
The Congress leader referred to Modi's calls “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”.
He referred to shell companies located in offshore tax havens that appear to have played a central role in Gautam Adani’s business operations with no serious consequences. His brother Vinod Shantilal Adani is alleged to have set up at least 38 shell entities in Mauritius, many of which have done huge business with the Adani Group, despite no evident sources of income or any activity.
“Are you protecting your close friends who are alleged to have syphoned off ₹5,468 crore in this case alone? Are you not concerned that consumers and taxpayers ultimately foot the bill when capital costs are over-inflated by shady promoters?” he asked about a case involving payment of
₹9,048 crore by three Adani Group companies to Dubai-based Electrogen Infra FZE for power equipment imported from China and South Korea. The case, which was taken over by CBI, has gone nowhere, he alleged.
The Congress leader also highlighted the 2004-06 diamond scam in which Gautam Adani’s younger brother Rajesh and his brother-in-law Samir Vora were accused of circular trading of diamonds and over-invoicing to fraudulently claim export subsidies.
Shell companies alleged to be controlled by Vinod Adani have also poured huge funds into Adani Group companies, he alleged and asked “Is this not worthy of investigation by the army of investigative agencies at your disposal?
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)