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"Questions raised by Rahul Gandhi relevant": KC Venugopal amid fresh allegations against Adani Group

In light of the fresh allegations against the Adani Group, the Congress on Thursday revived the demand for an inquiry by the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC)

Questions raised by Rahul Gandhi relevant: KC Venugopal amid fresh allegations against Adani Group

 Congress general secretary KC Venugopal

MUMBAI: On a day when Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting, a body funded by billionaire global investor George Soros, levelled fresh allegations against the Adani Group, Congress general secretary KC Venugopal on Thursday said the questions raised by Rahul Gandhi with regard to the "unaccounted money in Adani shell companies" assume fresh relevance.

Speaking to media persons in Mumbai, ahead of the third meeting of the Opposition bloc — INDIA — on Thursday, Venugopal said, "In February, Rahul Gandhi asked who owns the unaccounted money, worth Rs 20,000 crores in Adani Shell companies but none from the government could come up with an answer. Neither was any investigation called for. There were illegal transactions and the government took no action. The questions raised by Rahul Gandhi then assume more significance now. PM Modi needs to come up with answers."

In light of the fresh allegations against the Adani Group, the Congress on Thursday revived the demand for an inquiry by the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC). It accused the BJP-led government of rendering the country's regulatory and investigative agencies “toothless” and “reducing them to political tools to intimidate the Opposition rather than to investigate wrongdoings”.

Addressing a press conference, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said Prime Minister Modi had been “silent” on the allegations levelled earlier against the business group and the demand for an investigation.

"A Joint Parliamentary Committee probe is the only way for the truth to come out. We reiterate our demand for a JPC after the new report (by OCCRP). This only goes to show that our institutions failed and rules were violated under their nose. JPC should be formed and a probe must be conducted,” he said.

Months after Hindenburg Research put out a report on Adani Group alleging accounting fraud, stock price manipulation and improper use of tax havens, the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) earlier on Thursday claimed that two men, who it claimed “secretly invested” in the conglomerate, turned out to have “close ties to its majority owners”, the Adani family.

The Adani Group categorically rejected the allegations levelled by the OCCRP, terming them “recycled”.

"We categorically reject these recycled allegations. These news reports appear to be yet another concerted bid by Soros-funded interests supported by a section of the foreign media to revive the meritless Hindenburg report. In fact, this was anticipated, as was reported by the media last week," the Indian conglomerate said in a statement.

These attempts are aimed at generating profits by driving down our stock prices and these short sellers are under investigation by various authorities, the statement added. OCCRP — as per the information on its website — is “an investigative reporting platform formed by 24 non-profit investigative centres”, spread across Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Adani Group had also denied allegations in the wake of the earlier Hindenburg report, stating that it was "nothing but a lie". It had termed Hindenburg as "an unethical short seller". Earlier, on Thursday, Jairam posted on ‘X’ terming the fresh “revelations” as “explosive”.

“The revelations also provide some answers to the more than 100 pointed questions the Congress party has asked the PM…The PM continues to be silent on these questions of national interest,” he alleged. The Congress leader said there were lingering questions about SEBI’s role.

“Why did SEBI fail to disclose to the Supreme Court that the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence(DRI) had carried out investigations against the Adani Group in 2014, that were then closed by the Modi government in 2017?” he asked. Ramesh said the “truth will not stay suppressed forever”, adding that the truth can only come out through a JPC probe.

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