The Congress on Wednesday said it hopes SEBI will use all means at its disposal to get clarity about the ultimate beneficial ownership of foreign funds invested in the Adani group. The party also asserted that public interest must not be undermined using the excuse of confidentiality and privacy.
Its assertion came over a media report which claimed that some foreign funds invested in Adani group companies have declined to identify their beneficial owners, citing client confidentiality and foreign privacy laws.
Tagging the report, the Congress’ general secretary in-charge of communications Jairam Ramesh said on Twitter, ”We hope SEBI will use all the means at its disposal to get clarity about ultimate beneficial ownership of these funds given the serious and credible allegations of money-laundering, round-tripping and violations of securities laws against the Adani Group.” Public interest must not be undermined using the excuse of confidentiality and privacy, he said, adding that this is how Swiss banks got away for decades.
”Given a more than decade-long G20 initiative to increase international financial transparency, it would be a pity (but not inexplicable) if the Modi government were to choose the interests of its cronies over financial integrity during India’s much self-trumpeted G20 presidency,” the Congress leader said.
All this makes the case for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) even greater, Ramesh said.
The Congress on Monday had said granting a six-month extension to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to complete its probe into the alleged stock price manipulation by the Adani group may create the perception that the investigation is not being seriously pursued but being ”buried”.
Market regulator SEBI has moved the Supreme Court, seeking the extension to complete its investigation.
The top court had on March 2 asked SEBI to probe the alleged stock price manipulation by the Adani group within two months and also set up a panel to look into the protection of Indian investors after a damning report by a US short-seller wiped out more than USD 140 billion of the conglomerate’s market value.
The Opposition led by the Congress has been seeking a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe after the US-based Hindenburg Research made a litany of allegations against the Adani group, including fraudulent transactions and share-price manipulation.
The Gautam Adani-led group has dismissed the charges as lies, and said they comply with all laws and disclosure requirements.