When the government refused to set up a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe the Hindenburg report findings, the Congress tweaked the title of a popular Hindi film and came up with the Hum Adani Ke Hain Kaun campaign, in which it posed three questions a day between February 5 and March 22, totalling 100 questions, about the alleged links between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and businessman Gautam Adani. Congress communications head and Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh launched the campaign.
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The questions covered some of the following areas: the purported favouritism extended to the industrialist by the government; the Adani group’s alleged share price manipulation and fraudulent transactions; and the charges against Gautam Adani’s elder brother Vinod Adani, who is allegedly named in the Panama and Pandora papers, and his alleged network of shell companies, the details of which the Congress claims are in the papers.
After the Adani group called off a Rs.20,000 crore share sale in the wake of the Hindenburg revelations, there is also a demand for details of the original owners of this money. Other questions raised were around the Adani Group’s defence sector activities being facilitated by misuse of government agencies; Adani’s trips with the Prime Minister to Israel to get business contracts; and the Adani Group being awarded a drone manufacturing monopoly contract against public sector firms with equal capabilities. The government, the Congress says, set up a joint venture called Elbit with the Adani Group even when the latter had no experience in the defence sector.
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Also on the list of the questions are Adani’s contracts to set up thermal plants in Bangladesh; the unilateral decision to award Adani Ports in a government-to-government deal with Sri Lanka; the tweaking of Special Economic Zone (SEZ) guidelines to enable Adani Power to set up a plant in the Godda SEZ in Jharkhand; the abolition of coal import duties; the absence of an investigation about questionable offshore investments in the Adani Group; the reasons behind Life Insurance Corporation’s (LIC) heavy exposure to “risky” Adani Group shares; and the extent of LIC’s losses after January 24.