India’s main opposition party ramped up the pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his silence on the Adani turmoil and planned a nationwide protest on Monday to highlight the risk to small investors.
“What action has been taken, if ever, to investigate the serious allegations made over the years against the Adani Group?” Jairam Ramesh, general secretary of the Congress party, said in a statement. “Is there any hope of a fair and impartial investigation under you?,” he said, referring to Modi.
India’s opposition parties are trying to corner Modi after an explosive report by US-based short seller Hindenburg Research accused Adani’s companies of fraud to inflate revenue and stock prices. The tumult has become a national issue, with lawmakers disrupting parliament to demand answers as Adani’s interests often intertwine with the nation’s growth plans. The market value of the group has almost halved since Hindenburg’s allegations, which have been repeatedly denied by the conglomerate.
The Congress party said that the “serious” allegations faced by billionaire Adani’s empire questions the “quality and sincerity” of investigations that Modi has pledged to fight corruption. The party has planned protests on Monday to highlight the risks to investors because of the exposure of state-owned institutions in Adani’s businesses and draw attention to the tycoon’s close links with Modi.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Saturday that Indian regulators “will do their job” in dealing with the allegations against the Adani Group and the recent market turmoil won’t impact the nation’s economic fundamentals.
The party will protest in front of the offices of Life Insurance Corporation and State Bank of India, general secretary K. C. Venugopal said in a statement. “The government can’t jeopardize the hard earned money of the people of India to profit the crony friends of the prime minister.”
LIC is an investor in five Adani companies, with stakes ranging from 1% to 9%. Its investments total 364.75 billion rupees ($4.5 billion) in Adani Group companies, the insurer said earlier in a statement.