After the Trinamool Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) refused to sign a complaint against the Adani Group that was addressed to the Enforcement Directorate, Congress leaders said there was a difference between the two parties since the NCP was with the Congress and other like-minded parties on several key issues.
On March 15, 16 Opposition parties including the Congress, Aam Admi Party and Bharat Rashtra Samithi marched from Parliament to submit a complaint to the ED against the Adani Group, alleging “serious corporate fraud, political corruption, stock-price manipulation and the misuse and monopolization of public resources”.
In the meeting before the march, a NCP representative was present but did not sign the complaint. The NCP had reservations on an issue related to a development project in Mumbai, as it was a pet project of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in which the erstwhile Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress were partners, two Congress leaders said, requesting anonymity.
“The NCP leader present in the meeting told us that they are with us in spirit but not in body, indicating their reluctance to join the march,” said a Congress leader. Another opposition leader present in the meeting said that the NCP leaders tried to get party supremo Sharad Pawar sign the petition, but couldn’t reach him.
“The NCP is a trusted ally of the Congress, unlike the Trinamool. The TMC doesn’t attend any meeting of the opposition and tried to dilute the Adani-Hindenburg issue by demanding a court-monitored probe, even as all other opposition parties have been demanding a JPC (joint parliamentary committee),” said a second Congress leader.
In its letter to the ED, the opposition flagged the network of offshore shell companies allegedly involved in stock manipulation and money laundering, the AdiCorp’s funnelling of funds from the Adani Group back to Adani Power, the lack of investigation into the 3,000kg drugs haul from Mundra port, and the Adani Group’s improper influence to obtain concessions and contracts from governments.
After demanding a JPC and seeking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reply on a number of questions regarding the Adani Group, the Congress and key opposition parties lodged a formal complaint against the conglomerate to a federal investigative agency that investigates financial crimes.
The Congress, with many of its leaders under the ED’s scanner, reminded the agency how in the recent past it “has zealously pursued cases of alleged political favouritism including sharing concurrent jurisdiction with SEBI and CBI.” The ED on occasion works with the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Board of India, the country’s market regulator, to nab violators.