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One Man, One Govt, One Business Group: Cong slams govt over Adani issue

New Delhi: Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh on Saturday launched a scathing attack on the central government, saying that the theme of G20 is ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ but Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to actually believe in “One Man, One Government, One Business Group”.

The Congress chief was questioning the government over controversies regarding billionaire Gautam Adani.

Earlier, US research firm Hindenburg alleged “irregularities” in the financial dealings of Adani’s group and charged it with stock price manipulation. However, the Adani Group denied all the allegations made in the report and claimed there had been no wrongdoing on its part.

In a statement, Jairam Ramesh said that as the 2023 G20 Summit begins in Delhi, it is worth recalling Modi’s many exhortations at previous meetings of the grouping for the international community to crack down on corruption and money laundering.

At the 2014 Brisbane G20 meeting, the prime minister called for global cooperation to eliminate safe havens for economic offenders, to track down and unconditionally extradite money launderers, and to break down the web of complex international regulations and excessive banking secrecy that hide the corrupt and their deeds, the Congress leader said.

At the 2018 Buenos Aires G20 summit, Modi presented a nine-point agenda for action against fugitive economic offences and asset recovery, Ramesh said.

“The PM’s brazenness would be laughable if his complicity in high-level corruption and economic offences were not so serious,” he added.

“The PM has not simply facilitated the creation of Modi-made Monopolies for his close friends, the Adanis, in critical sectors like ports, airports, power, and roads using all the tools at his disposal, he has systematically blocked all investigations into Adani’s wrongdoing by agencies as varied as SEBI, CBI, ED, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and the Serious Fraud Investigation Office,” he charged.

This ensures that “tax havens are safe for his close friends and that they continue to enjoy the protection of excessive banking secrecy and complex international regulations”, he alleged.

The revelation that at least two opaque funds that are alleged to have done round-tripping, money laundering, and have violated securities laws are directly connected to Adani is the most recent example of how enfeebled agencies have been made “subservient to the Adani’s and the PM’s corporate interests”, Ramesh said.

“No less a body than the Supreme Court’s Expert Committee noted in its damning report how SEBI had itself deleted the requirement for overseas funds to report their actual ownership, something that it belatedly tried to undo in June 2023 when it reintroduced reporting requirements, long after the Adani horse had bolted. Would it have done so without pressure from the top,” he asked.

Note that it deleted those requirements long after the departure of UK Sinha, who joined the board of the Adani-owned channel after having previously failed to act on a DRI investigation on Adani, indicative of a broader conspiracy, Ramesh said.

“The PM’s ‘nine-point agenda’ is equally laughable given the ease with which the BJP permitted economic offenders like Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Mehul ‘Bhai’ Choksi and Vijay Mallya to flee the country. The government itself has admitted that it has been able to bring back only two of 72 major economic offenders in recent years,” he alleged.

Ramesh further said that the G20 is intended to be a productive gathering of the major world economies, aimed at dealing with global problems in a cooperative manner.

“President Putin may have stayed away, but Prince Potemkin has been in full display with slums being either covered up or demolished, rendering thousands homeless. Stray animals have been cruelly rounded up and mistreated, only to burnish the PM’s image,” he added.

Opposition parties have also been demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the Adani issue.

With inputs from PTI

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TAGS:CongressG20 SummitJairam RameshGautam adaniNarendra Modi govtHindenburg reportAdani rowIndia News
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