Rajat Sharma


AKB30 The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected prayers for a court-monitored probe by CBI or SIT(Special Investigation Team) into allegations made against Adani group by an American short seller firm, Hindenburg Research, in its report which was published on January 24, 2023. A three judge bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, Justice J B Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra disposed of a batch of four petitions seeking probe into Hindenburg allegations. The apex court pointed out that SEBI(Securities & Exchange Board of India) has completed 22 out of the 24 investigations into the Adani group and the remaining two are pending due to inputs awaited from foreign regulators. The court directed SEBI to complete the remaining probe within three months. The apex court said, “SEBI has prima facie conducted a comprehensive investigation… No apparent regulatory failure can be attributed to SEBI based on the material before this court. Therefore, there is prima facie no deliberate inaction or inadequacy in the investigation by SEBI.” The apex court also rejected the views of some petitioners who had relied on a report published by Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and various other newspaper articles which referred to the OCCRP report, and had complained that SEBI was lackadaisical in conducting the probe. Rejecting the petitioners’ views, the apex court said, “the petitioner’s case appears to rest solely on inference from the OCCRP report…such reports by ‘independent’ groups or investigative pieces by newspapers may act as inputs before SEBI or the Expert Committee, but they cannot be relied on as conclusive proof”. The Hindenburg report came in January 2023, two days before Adani group was supposed to come with its largest Follow-On Public Offer of Rs 20,000 crore. The Adani group withdrew its FPO offer and this led to a sharp decline in the prices of Adani group shares in the stock market. Expressing happiness over the apex court verdict, Gautam Adani went on social media platform X and tweeted: “The Hon’ble Supreme Court’s judgement shows that: “Truth has prevailed. Satyameva Jayate. I am grateful to those who stood by us. Our humble contribution to India’s growth story will continue. Jai Hind.” Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi welcomed the verdict saying that the apex court has reposed its full trust in SEBI probe. The Hindenburg report had raised questions about the style of working, investments and management of Adani group. There was hue and cry inside Parliament over this issue and the entire budget session witnessed pandemonium. Now that the apex court has refused to direct a SIT probe into Adani group, opposition parties are alleging that the Supreme Court has not done justice to investors. CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury said, “SC judgement in the Adani case is disappointing and unfortunate on several grounds…SC has not enhanced its credibility with this judgement.” Congress party said, “The Supreme Court judgement .. has proved extraordinarily generous to SEBI…Truth dies a thousand deaths when we hear Satyameva Jayate from those who have gamed, manipulated and subverted the system this past decade….Our fight for NYAY against crony capitalism and its ill-effects on prices, unemployment and inequalities will continue even more forcefully”. Congress MP Manish Tewari alleged that Modi government is trying hush up Adani scam. Interestingly, on one hand while Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been consistently raising questions against Gautam Adani and his group, his party’s government in Telangana is welcoming investments from Adani group. On Wednesday, Telangana chief minister Revanth Reddy met a delegation from Adani group led by Gautam Adani’s son, Karan Adani, CEO of Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone, for setting up a data center and aerospace park in the state. Revanth Reddy promised full assistance to the group. Gautam Adani is one of India’s leading industrialists. When the Hindenburg report came, Adani was third in the list of World’s richest persons, but after the report came, his wealth declined by nearly half and prices of his group companies crashed. Within 20 days, Adani was out from the list of World’s Top 20 richest persons. The loss that accrued because of an incorrect, false, fabricated and speculative report of a foreign short seller company was not only Adani’s, but also India’s loss. It hurt Indian economy. The opposition made hue and cry over this report, did not allow Parliament to function, and Rahul Gandhi made Adani his main tool to attack Narendra Modi. On Wednesday, when the Supreme Court gave a clean chit to Adani group, Rahul was nowhere on the scene. He did not post any tweet. I remember, when the Hindenburg report came, Gautam Adani was my guest in ‘Aap Ki Adalat’. Adani had then said clearly that his “balance sheet was clear, every paisa was accounted for, there has been no dishonesty”, nor does he believe in dishonesty, and he follows rules and laws scrupulously. He said, he was least worried. Later, Adani told me that a day will soon come when Adani group will touch the pinnacle of success. I think, Gautam Adani has been proved correct. His words have come true. Now that the Supreme Court has given his group a clean chit, Rahul Gandhi may become worried, because he has lost his biggest weapon to target Modi. Rahul’s script writers will have to change the entire story.

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