Rahul Gandhi today launched a sharp attack in parliament on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and billionaire Gautam Adani, whose companies are in the spotlight after US-based short-seller Hindenburg Research alleged stocks manipulation and accounting fraud by the group.
The Congress leader, who recently completed a 3,500-km Bharat Jodo Yatra, accused PM Modi of helping Gautam Adani's business empire across sectors, prompting emphatic rebuttals from the ruling BJP, which called his allegations wild and reckless.
"From Tamil Nadu, Kerala to Himachal Pradesh, we have been listening one name everywhere 'Adani'. Across the entire country, it's just 'Adani', 'Adani', 'Adani'...Adani ji never fails in any business he ventures into - solar energy, wind energy. During my yatra people asked me how Adani attained such success in so many sectors, what is his relationship with the Prime Minister," Rahul Gandhi said in Lok Sabha, alleging that the businessman had gained contracts in the countries that PM Modi had visited.
"People asked me how Adani's net worth increased from $ 8 billion to 140 billion between 2014 and 2022," he said.
The Congress leader said the businessman went from "600th to second rank" when the BJP came to power in 2014 and the "real magic started".
He also alleged that rules were changed so the Adani group could bag six airport contracts.
"Do not level wild allegations, give proof," Law Minister Kiren Rijiju hit back at the Congress leader.
"You are now a senior MP. You should speak with responsibility. We expect you to be serious in parliament. You can say whatever you want outside," Mr Rijiju said.
BJP MPs shouted that privatization began when the Congress was in power and handed airport contracts to companies like GVK, which were not experienced in the business.
The BJP leaders also remarked that Rahul Gandhi should talk about "Ashok Gehlot-Adani ties" - referring to Mr Adani pledging Rs 65,000 crore at an "Invest Rajasthan Summit" in the Congress-ruled state last year.
"The whole ecosystem of the Congress is based on the twin corrupt pillars of deals and commissions," said BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad, "reminding" Rahul Gandhi that he, his mother Sonia Gandhi and his brother-in-law Robert Vadra are out on bail.
The Adani Group has called the Hindenburg report a "malicious combination of selective misinformation and stale, baseless and discredited allegations that have been tested and rejected by India's highest courts".
Opposition parties allege that the recent meltdown in Adani Group shares involves public money as public sector companies LIC (Life Insurance Corporation of India) and SBI (State Bank of India) have invested in them. The Adani group says it has complied with all laws and disclosure requirements.
Both houses of parliament have been disrupted repeatedly because of protests linked to the Hindenburg-Adani row.
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