The Congress party reiterated its demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) investigation into the Adani matter on Monday, citing recent media reports highlighting alleged connections between the conglomerate and individuals involved in various financial activities.
In a statement, Congress General Secretary in-charge Communications, Jairam Ramesh, raised concerns about what he referred to as the “biggest mystery” in corporate India: how the Adani Group has avoided prosecution despite available information regarding alleged activities.
Ramesh doubted any potential investigation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whom he described as closely associated with the Adani Group. Consequently, he asserted, ‘The answer has to be a JPC (joint parliamentary committee probe).’
The Congress party has been examining the financial dealings of billionaire Gautam Adani’s conglomerate following allegations of “irregularities” and stock price manipulation by the US-based Hindenburg Research. The Adani Group has consistently denied these allegations made in the Hindenburg report and claimed there had been no wrongdoing.
Ramesh mentioned recent media reports that he believes shed further light on the ties between the Adani Group and individuals allegedly involved in various financial activities.
He pointed to two names that have surfaced in these reports: Chang Chung-Ling and Nasser Ali Shaban Ahli. Ramesh alleged that these individuals acted as middlemen, siphoning a significant amount through over-invoicing coal imports from Indonesia to India, which subsequently inflated electricity prices in India.
Additionally, he said that Chang and Ahli were identified as the beneficial owners of offshore shell companies that acquired substantial stakes in four Adani Group companies in violation of regulations intended to prevent share price manipulation.
“Now there is evidence suggesting that Chang, Ahli, and their associates control engineering procurement and construction (EPC) firms that have received the bulk of construction contracts from Adani,” Ramesh said.
Ramesh highlighted another set of financial transactions that raised concerns about alleged illegality. He pointed out that prominent audit firm Deloitte Haskins and Sells could not certify that one EPC firm, Howe Engineering Projects, had no connection to Adani. This issue led to Deloitte’s resignation as the auditor of Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) in August 2023.
Ramesh referred to a “Morning Context” investigation published on the same day, which, he claimed, provided substantial evidence linking Howe and Adani, despite the latter’s repeated denials.
He alleged, “A complex ownership structure extending to Mauritius connects Howe to Vinod Adani and to Chang Chien-Ting, Chang Chung-Ling’s son. Howe has operated out of Adani’s premises in Ahmedabad and had common directors from 2008. The websites of affiliated firms and social media profiles of employees provide additional evidence of the close links between Howe and Adani.”
According to Ramesh, Howe and PMC Projects share common ownership, suggesting that a significant portion of APSEZ’s construction work is being conducted by related parties. He also cited financial experts who expressed concerns that the relationship between the Prime Minister’s friends and the Adani Group might involve “fraud.” He represented a “grave governance issue” that should worry all Adani shareholders.