Business tycoon Gautam Adani on Tuesday again slammed US short-seller Hindenburg for what he called a ‘malicious’ attempt to damage the reputation of his conglomerate. He used the same language as he had used in the annual reports of his group’s listed firms last month, to hit back at Hindenburg Research’s ‘malicious’ allegations and ‘false narratives’ that ‘various vested interests tried to exploit’.
Virtually addressing the annual shareholders meeting of Adani Enterprises, the 62-year-old billionaire said the group’s assets and operating cash flows had got stronger and healthier and it would continue to consolidate what it had built while looking at expanding its horizons.
He reiterated that his conglomerate remains confident in its governance and disclosure standards.
Hindenburg had, on January 24 this year, accused Adani of ‘brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud’ as well as using a ‘labyrinthian network’ of shell companies for surreptitious money movements. Reminding that the report was published just on the eve of India’s Republic Day, Adani called it ‘a calculated attack on India’.
The report lopped off close to $150 billion in the market value of the group’s listed companies at the lowest point and led to Adani losing the richest Indian tag.
Adani said, “The report was a combination of targeted misinformation and discredited allegations, the majority of them dating from 2004 to 2015. They were all settled by the appropriate authorities at that time. This report was a deliberate and malicious attempt aimed at damaging our reputation and generating profits through a short-term drive-down of our stock prices.”
He went on to refer to the expert committee constituted by the Supreme Court to look into the matter.
“The Expert Committee did not find any regulatory failure,” he said adding the panel confirmed the quality of the group’s disclosures and “found no instance of any breach.”
“While SEBI is still to submit its report [on a separate probe into the allegations against Adani Group] in the months ahead, we remain confident of our governance and disclosure standards,” he added.