Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien reiterated his party's demand as the logjam in parliament continued for the fourth straight day today over opposition demands and the government's insistence on an apology from Congress's Rahul Gandhi. The Trinamool, Mr O'Brien told the media, has been drawing attention to three issues since the last session of parliament -- one of which is the Adani-Hindenburg row.
He questioned why central probe agencies were not inquiring into the allegations of US shortseller Hindenburg Research against the Adani Group. "What is stopping the CBI and ED, who work overtime when it comes to opposition leaders?" he said at a press conference.
The Trinamool, Mr O'Brien said, has been drawing attention to the issue of LIC, State Bank of India and Adani repeatedly. The funds in LIC and SBI, he said, are at risk. The opposition contends that the two organisations are heavily invested in the Adani Group, whose market shares have taken a hit following Hindenburg's allegations of financial fraud and stocks manipulation, strongly refuted by the Adani Group.
In an exclusive interview to NDTV, Finance Secretary TV Somanathan has said the "SBI and LIC's exposure to any given company is far below the level where it should be a concern to any investor".
"It is tiny. The fate of one company will not affect any of these institutions significantly and therefore there is absolutely no cause for concern for either depositors or policyholders or investors in any of the nationalised banks or insurance companies," he had said.
The Congress has alleged that the SBI and LIC were "forced" to make investments to save the Adani Group, putting people's life savings in danger.
"LIC is losing about Rs 1,000 crore every day in its investments due to the fall in Adani Group's shares. The country is asking -- under whose pressure LIC-SBI invested public money in Adani," Rahul Gandhi had tweeted earlier.
While there were differences within the opposition on whether a Joint Parliamentary Committee or a Supreme Court-appointed committee should investigate the Adani issue, there was complete unity on the need for an investigation, Mr O'Brien said.
The Trinamool, he said, had taken a "conscious decision" on seeking a Supreme Court-appointed committee, since the chairperson of any Joint Parliamentary Committee is a BJP member. "We looked at the history of JPC for the last 12 JPCs. It is putting the matter under the carpet," he said.
Last month, the Supreme Court had said interests of Indian investors need to be protected in view of the market volatility in the backdrop of the Adani share price drop. Some reports estimated that Indian investors have lost several lakh crores of rupees since.
The court has set up a six-member panel to look into regulatory mechanisms to protect investors' interest. The committee, headed by retired judge Abhay Manohar Sapre, will include veteran bankers KV Kamath and OP Bhat, Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani, and retired Justice JP Devdhar.
(Disclaimer: New Delhi Television is a subsidiary of AMG Media Networks Limited, an Adani Group Company.)