Adani labels battle with US Short Seller as attack on India

(Bloomberg) — The Adani Group has pitched its brawl with a US short seller as an attack on India and the matter could overshadow the parliament’s budget session with opposition lawmakers scrutinizing ties between Asia’s richest man and Prime Minister Narendra. Highlight modes.

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“The Adani Group is not an ordinary conglomerate: it has been closely linked to Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he was prime minister,” said Jairam Ramesh, general secretary of the opposition Congress Party, days after Hindenburg Research alleged stock manipulation and fraudulent accounting. by the conglomerate.

Parliament meets this week for its crucial budget session, where the government will unveil its final budget for the full year on Wednesday before Modi seeks a third term in elections due in less than 15 months.

“We will certainly raise this in parliament. In what form and when we will decide later. It is a serious problem,” Sougata Ray, lawmaker of the opposition All India Trinamool Congress, said in a telephone interview. At least two other opposition parties will also raise the matter.

The government has so far been silent on the matter. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi was not immediately available for comment.

Billionaire Gautam Adani, widely seen as close to Modi, has portrayed the Hindenburg Research allegations as an attack on his homeland, in a bid to gain support from nationalists. The tycoon has often aligned his companies with Modi’s development goals by building capital-intensive infrastructure such as ports and airports.

“This is not just an unwarranted attack on a specific company, but a calculated attack on India, the independence, integrity and quality of Indian institutions, and India’s growth story and ambition,” Adani said in his 413-page response on Sunday.

It was not the first time the group framed the dispute in nationalistic terms. Shortly after the report was made public on January 24, Adani Group Finance Director Jugeshinder Singh released a video statement refuting the allegations with a huge Indian flag waving in the background.

Hindenburg said the answer failed to answer most of his questions and “predictably tried to shift focus away from issues of substance and instead fueled a nationalist narrative.”

“In short, the Adani Group has tried to confuse its meteoric rise and the wealth of its chairman, Gautam Adani, with the success of India itself,” Hindenburg added.

Adani’s staggering rise closely paralleled Modi’s own journey to India’s top political job. Shortly after Modi became prime minister of the western state of Gujarat, where both men are from, he faced scathing corporate disapproval over the 2002 religious riots. – business references.

The billionaire’s confrontation with the short seller dominated social media in India. The hashtag #AdaniGroup was trending on Twitter Monday morning with people voicing opinions on both sides of the debate.

“These kinds of reports where you make money yourself should be disregarded,” said Ashwani Mahajan, co-organizer of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh – the ideological parent of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party. “Adani does not burn money, assets are built. This has no impact on broader sentiment towards India.”

The back and forth comes during the final leg of Adani Enterprises Ltd.’s follow-up bid, which is expected to close on Tuesday. It received a 1% total bid on Friday, as bonds and shares of Adani entities plummeted — some to their 20% daily cap. Adani himself lost more than $20 billion of his personal wealth with the stock revolution last week.

–With help from Sudhi Ranjan Sen.

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