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The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau

‘A mystery’ how Adani group escapes despite pervading ‘stench of illegality’: Congress

The Congress on Monday claimed that recent media reports have “further illuminated” close links between the Adani group and a “shadowy network” of the group’s confidants who are allegedly involved in round-tripping, money laundering and brazen violations of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) laws.

In a statement, Congress general secretary in-charge of communications Jairam Ramesh reiterated their demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to probe allegations against the group.

The biggest mystery

Mr Ramesh claimed that the “biggest mystery” in corporate India has to be how the Adani group has escaped prosecution by various arms of the government “despite a deluge of information about its corrupt and illegal activities from top to bottom”.

“Quite clearly the PM has no interest in investigating his close friend and benefactor. With the PM unable or unwilling, the answer has to be a JPC (joint parliamentary committee probe),” he said.

Noting that a spate of recent media revelations have pointed to links between the Adani Group and a network of confidants who are involved in round-tripping and money laundering, Mr Ramesh said ,“Two names stood out in these revelations: Chang Chung-Ling and Nasser Ali Shaban Ahli”.

He alleged that the duo have been identified as the middlemen who allegedly siphoned around ₹ 12,000 crore by over-invoicing coal imports from Indonesia to India handled by the Adani group and have also been shown to be beneficial owners of offshore shell companies that amassed huge benami stakes in four Adani Group companies.

“Now the stench of illegality has become stronger in yet another set of financial transactions. There is evidence Chang, Ahli and their associates control engineering procurement and construction (EPC) firms that have received the bulk of construction contracts from Adani,”Mr Ramesh said.

Further, he claimed, the prominent audit firm Deloitte Haskins and Sells was unable to certify that one EPC firm, Howe Engineering Projects, is not related to Adani.

“This is a very serious admission by the auditor. Deloitte’s inability to certify that Howe and another EPC firm PMC Projects are not related to Adani reportedly contributed to its resignation in August 2023 as the auditor of Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ),” Ramesh said.

Mr Ramesh cited an investigation, published in a news portal, that shows “overwhelming evidence linking Howe and Adani, despite repeated denials by the latter”.

“A complex ownership structure extending to Mauritius connects Howe to Vinod Adani and to Chang Chien-Ting, Chang Chung-Ling’s son. Howe has operated out of Adani’s premises in Ahmedabad and had common directors from 2008. The websites of affiliated firms and social media profiles of employees provide additional evidence of the close links between Howe and Adani,” Mr Ramesh alleged.

The Adani group, however, has earlier denied any wrongdoing and rejected the allegations made against the group by the US-based short seller, Hindenburg, earlier.

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