Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Adani issue: Opposition leaders write to ED, says agency cannot ‘abdicate’ its jurisdiction


New Delhi: Leaders of several opposition parties on Wednesday urged the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to initiate an investigation into the Adani Group over allegations of corrupt practices, including money laundering through shell companies.

In a letter emailed to the ED Director S K Mishra, the parties told the probe agency that “it cannot turn around and abdicate its jurisdiction”.

The letter was signed by leaders of the Congress, CPI, CPI-M, JDU, SS (UBT), RJD, DMK, JMM, AAP, IUML, VCK, Kerala Congress, and others.

Leaders of several opposition parties were stopped by the police at Vijay Chowk here as they took out a protest march from Parliament House to hand over a complaint to the Enforcement Directorate on the Adani issue.

In their letter to the ED, the opposition leaders said, “We are acutely aware of how in the recent past, the ED has also zealously pursued cases of alleged political favouritism, including sharing concurrent jurisdiction with SEBI and CBI. We are also aware of the limited remit of the Supreme Court Commission appointed on the subject. We point this out to remind the ED that it cannot turn around and abdicate its jurisdiction on these or other grounds”.

“In light of the above, we, the members of the Opposition, ask that you take immediate action on the above-mentioned allegations,” they told the ED director.

The letter further claimed that over the last three months, several crucial pieces of evidence have been made available against the Adani Group in the public domain.

“Yet, the Enforcement Directorate, which claims to pursue such cases with vigour and fairness, is yet to launch even a preliminary enquiry into these very serious charges.

“As a result, we are constrained to file this official complaint so that the ED is compelled to investigate a relationship that has serious implications not just for our economy but most importantly, our democracy,” they said.

Sharing the contents of the letter on Twitter, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, “Leaders and MPs of 16 opposition parties, who were going to hand over a complaint letter demanding a probe into the Adani scam to the ED, were stopped from reaching the ED office this afternoon”.

The opposition leaders also alleged that this case involves serious and far-reaching charges of corporate fraud, political corruption, stock-price manipulation through fraudulent means, and the misuse/monopolization of public resources to benefit a single corporate group.

In the letter, the leaders alleged that the Adani Group companies are accused of having established a network of offshore shell companies and offshore funds controlled by parties related to the Adani Group for the purposes of “artificially inflating stock valuations and to give a distorted picture with regard to the group companies’ financial health”.

The Adani Group has rubbished all the charges made out against its companies and denied any “wrongdoing” as earlier alleged by the US-based Hindenburg report.

In the letter, the opposition also mentioned the recovery of drugs made from Mundra port in September 2021, alleging there has been absolutely no serious investigation into the company charged with running the port on whose watch this grave crime occurred.

“Given the cross-border implications, it is even more surprising that the jurisdiction of the ED was never invoked in the investigation,” the opposition leaders alleged.

Talking of the debt that the Adani Group has taken from various public sector banks, the opposition leaders alleged that there is “a clear pattern of corruption, cronyism, and habitual law-breaking”.

“It is surprising that despite all of the above, the ED has shown little to no interest in pursuing a basic investigation into the entities’ affairs,” they also alleged.


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