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Narendra Modi Accused Congress Of Receiving Tempo Loads Of Black Money From Adani-Ambani. Will The Investigating Agencies Act Upon The Accusations Made By Modi In His Third Term?

Did Narendra Modi Accidently Accepted That Adani-Ambani Has Black Money?

Ambani, Adani Collaborate For First Time: Reliance Picks 26 Pc Stake In Adani Power Project - Amar Ujala Hindi News Live - Ambani-adani:दो दिग्गज कारोबारी आए एक साथ, रिलायंस ने अदाणी पावर

The election campaign of the 2024 elections has given multiple controversial statements that have been ignored. Narendra Modi made a controversial statement that needed attention from not just the citizens of India before they elected the new Prime Minister but also the government authorities particularly the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED). Though the agencies yet again turned deaf, the people of India heard it loud and clear. It would not be completely incorrect to say that this was one of the reasons for the downfall of brand “Modi” in the 2024 elections.

For the first time in almost a decade, Narendra Modi openly mentioned industrialists Ambani and Adani but unintentionally in a context that raises numerous questions. While addressing a rally in Telangana he said, “Ever since elections have been announced, these people (Congress) have stopped abusing Ambani-Adani. I want to ask from Telangana soil, let the Shehzada announce, how much has been lifted from Ambani-Adani. Has tempo loads of notes (currency) reached Congress? What deal has been arrived at, that abusing Ambani-Adani has stopped overnight?”

Adding on to the statement the PM said that there was “something is fishy” as for many years Congress had “abused” and accused Adani-Ambani which ceased overnight. “It means you have received some tempo loads of ‘chori ka maal’ (loot). You have to answer the nation.”

Rahul Gandhi retaliated to this statement by demanding a CBI and ED investigation into them.

Congress party had accused the Central government of prioritising the interests of the industrialists over that of the nation on several occasions over the years. A year ago, various allegations related to corny capitalism and the unfair advantages given to businessmen were made in parliament.

Rahul Gandhi had stated that there was a link between the industrialist Gautam Adani and the Prime Minister, which has been fruitful in raising the businessman’s net worth from $8 billion to $140 billion after the BJP came into power in 2014. 

PM Modi, Billionaires Mukesh Ambani, and Gautam Adani Driving Indian Economic Growth - Report | Times Now

Rahul Gandhi again accused the central government of favouritism as many projects were “given to Adani” in the past 10 years. These projects were related to the infrastructure of airports and ports and defence contracts.

Sources of Revenue and Takeovers 

Through swift acquisitions and partnerships, the diverse corporate portfolio of both Adani and Ambani has kept expanding over the years. In the past decade i.e. from 2014-2024, Reliance Industries Limited and Adani Group have made notable acquisitions. Well-calculated strategies were used to take over startups and big brands to expand their businesses. The Adani Group has made over 30 acquisitions in different industries since 2014. In the case of RIL, the list gets longer as it has acquired approximately 40 companies in the same period.

RIL took over Embibe, Saavn in 2018 and Den Networks, Hathway Cable between 2018 and 2019. In 2019 RIL acquired Fynd, Haptik, Tesseract, Nowfloats Technology, Reverie, Grab, Asteria Aerospace and Hamleys. It acquired a 100% stake in British toy retailer Hamleys in an INR 620 crore deal. The EasyGov web portal which provides citizens with information about government programs and services, is the hallmark of Surajya Services (EasyGov), a data solutions company. This company was acquired by RIL in 2019.

Ambani derived more than $20 billion during the Covid-19 lockout by selling a third of Jio to several investors, like Google and Facebook. In 2020, Radisys, Netmeds, and Urban Ladder.  The acquisition of Just Dial in 2021 dwarfed its other takeovers as it is considered one of the largest acquisitions in the country. Other than this, in 2021 it acquired Creative Portico followed by the acquisition of Campa Cola, Shubhalakshmi Polyesters and Sense Hawk in 2022. At the beginning of 2022, Ambani acquired a majority interest in the Mandarin Oriental in New York City. He had spent US$98 million in the deal.

Mandarin Oriental in New York City acquired by Ambani

In 2014 the Adani Group acquired The Dhamra Port Company Ltd. In 2015, Gautam Ambani spun off Adani Ports, Adani Power, and Adani Transmission. The Krishnapatnam Port was acquired in 2020, the Gangavaram Port in 2021, the Ocean Sparkle in 2022 and the Karaikal Port in 2023 by Adani Ports. Adani Green Energy acquired SB Energy and Spinel Energy & Infrastructure in 2021.

Vishvapradhan Commercial was acquired in 2022 by Adani Enterprises. Adani Wilmar Ltd., a business within the Adani Group, purchased the Kohinoor brand from McCormick Switzerland in 2022 granting them sole control of Kohinoors’ basmati rice. Adani Power Ltd. acquired 100% of the equities in infrastructure development firms SPPL and EREPL in the same year. With the acquisition of DB Power Ltd. the Adani group has strengthened its footprint in thermal power. 

In 2022, Adani Group acquired a 63.15% stake in Ambuja Cements and a 56.69% stake in ACC. In addition to being the largest merger and acquisition deal in India’s history involving infrastructure and materials, this was also one of the Adani Group’s biggest purchases ever.

Adani Defence and Aerospace in 2019 acquired Alpha Design Technologies, PLR Systems in 2020, and Air Works in 2022.

There were 6 airports namely Mangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Guwahati, Jaipur, Lucknow and Ahmedabad under the Adani Group. The bid for these 6 AAI airports was won in 2019. This Ahmedabad-based business took over Mumbai’s International Airport in July 2021 by acquiring its 74% share, despite the COVID-19 outbreak’s devastating effect on the Indian economy. As a result, the group gets to operate the Navi Mumbai Airport.

Adani Group taking over 8 major airports.

While the Adani Group sealed this deal, a US-based short seller accused the company of manipulating stocks and inappropriately employing offshore tax havens. The Mumbai International Airport Ltd. and Navi Mumbai International Airport Ltd. were the subject of a request for information and records by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs covering the fiscal years 2017–18 through 2021–2022.

 

Infrastructure, defence, and solar energy are not the only sectors in which the conglomerate has expanded by spending crores. The Adani Group  tookover NDTV in 2022 and BQ Prime in 2023.

Growth of Ambani-Adani

The world took a halt in 2022-2022 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. People across the globe were starving but there were some people whose businesses and lives were on a parallel track. Instead of declining or being stable businesses, the net worth of these business tycoons reached its peak. 

Mukesh Ambani’s net worth was 50 billion USD in 2019, dropping to 36.8 billion USD in 2020. It eventually became 90.7 billion USD by 2022.

Adani’s net worth was merely 8.7 billion USD in 2019 and 8.9 billion USD in 2020 but accelerated and became 90 billion USD by April 2022. This rise placed him as the third richest person in the world per Forbes in 2022. 

Adani Group came into the limelight not only because of the accusations by Congress but also after the Hindenburg report published in January 2023. The report raised serious allegations concerning stock manipulations, usage of shell companies and high debt levels. After this report was published, the net worth was a startlingly low 43.3 billion US dollars in February 2023.

A panel has been appointed by the Indian Supreme Court to look at the claims that Adani disputes. The autonomous body will look into instances of regulatory lapses. Adani has praised the ruling from the Supreme Court.

Allegations Hinting at Modi for Helping Ambani-Adani

On several occasions, Rahul Gandhi had alleged that the Modi government had used its powers to bend rules to support these business tycoons. This was the reason for the meteoric rise in their wealth. As of now, no serious allegations have been made against Mukesh Ambani through national and international sources, on the contrary, every deal made by the industrialist Gautam Adani has sparked controversy and hinted towards his close contact with Narendra Modi, which has helped him nab international and national deals, saved his black money from CBI and ED till date.  

May 4, 2014: During his general election campaign, Narendra Modi took to the skies aboard a business jet that belonged to Gautam Adani. The aircraft’s name was boldly displayed on it: “Adani.” Modi also used the identical aircraft on his way to New Delhi following the BJP’s victory in the Lok Sabha elections and his impending swearing-in as India’s prime minister. At this point, the Adani group’s turnover was estimated at ₹75,659 crores. 

November 19, 2014: To support the Adani Group’s Carmichael mine project in Australia, the State Bank of India (SBI) decided to lend the company US $1 billion. Among all the loans made by Indian public sector banks for foreign projects, this was one of the largest. Since this became a subject of political debate, the bank didn’t execute the loan. 

2015: Gautam Adani accompanied Narendra Modi on his first trip to Canada and France. In the same year, Anil Swarup, the coal secretary, confessed that he was under pressure to give coal away to some “privileged businessmen” by the secretary of Narendra Modi. After moving Swarup to a different department, the Coal Ministry began selling coal produced by the public sector company Coal India to private buyers at a discount. With 10 million tonnes or one-third of the total stocks, Adani was the biggest customer. Adani embarked on this journey to become India’s biggest private thermal power producer.

2015: The Adani Group was directed to pay a ₹200 crore fine by the Environment Ministry of the UPA government in 2013 for breaking the law and causing environmental degradation while carrying out its Mundra waterfront development project. Under the guise of a new environmental study, the Modi government delayed the payment in 2015 and waived it entirely in 2017.

2015: Bangladesh hosted Narendra Modi following which Adani Group and Reliance Power Ltd. signed different Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB). These MOUs were signed to implement power projects in Bangladesh. Adani and the BPDB inked a second MOU for the production of thermal electricity in India and its supply to Bangladesh in August 2015. Adani quickly established the Godda thermal power plant in Jharkhand, evicting the indigenous inhabitants from their property through force, assisted by the state bureaucracy and police forces of the BJP government. Under Narendra Modi, the Union government modifies the legislation to let stand-alone power projects—like Adani’s Godda power plant—operate within Special Economic zones.  

2017: The Adani Group was the highest bidder and was given the contract when India’s government opted to import coal at ten times the cost of domestic coal due to a coal shortage and the resulting power shortage.

2019: The six airports that the Airport Authority of India was operating at the time—Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Mangalore, Jaipur, Guwahati, and Thiruvananthapuram—were to be privatised, according to a plan approved by the Union government in November 2018. Adani Enterprises Limited won the bid to construct and manage all six airports for 50 years.

It eventually came to light,  that a government panel reviewing public-private partnerships had disregarded several directives from the Niti Aayog and the Finance Ministry, which, if followed, would have barred the Adani group from regulating all six airports. Since “these six airports projects are highly capital-intensive projects,” the Department of Economic Affairs of the Finance Ministry had recommended adding a provision in an appraisal note analysing the privatisation process stating that “not more than two airports will be awarded to the same bidder”. It also stated that selecting different companies will maintain the standard of the projects by enhancing competition.

The Department of Economic Affairs also flagged other concerns. It claimed that in the bid document, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Airport Authority of India had omitted important information that was required to compare the technical solutions that the bidders had given. The absence of “critical” information like the “total project cost” was noted. Several other questions were raised as the requirement of prior technical experience was not made mandatory.

Despite knowing that the lack of “sufficient technical capacity” will be a threat to the quality of services that are required to complete the project, the Center’s private-public partnership evaluation committee disregarded all of these suggestions. 

2020: After acquiring 75% of the project’s equity, the Adani group took over the Mumbai International Airport management from the GVK company in August—the line of events that took place before the takeover raised many questions that were suppressed. Gunupati Venkata Krishna Reddy, the chairman of the GVK company, his son Venkata Sanjay Reddy, and GV Sanjay Reddy, the managing director of the Mumbai airport, were all detained by the Central Bureau of Investigation in June 2020 on suspicion of conducting improper operations.

The ED raided the organisation’s offices across the nation and soon after, in July, it filed money laundering accusations against the senior echelon of the organisation. GV Sanjay Reddy gave an interview clarifying the image of Gautam Adani by stating that he was not under pressure to sell the Mumbai Airport. Ironically, the interview was given to NDTV, a news channel acquired by Adani in 2022.

2021: According to records from the Sri Lankan Parliament, the Adani Group was given preference by the Indian government when selecting a business to develop the Eastern Container Terminal at the Colombo Port. Engaging with the Sri Lankan media, several bureaucrats and trade union representatives said Narendra Modi had pressured the president to award the project to Adani. The Adani Group generates ₹1,78,946 crores in revenue overall. In this Covid-19 year, when practically every firm was in decline, Adani tripled his wealth. 

August 2022: Adani Data Networks Limited won the bid for the ₹212 crore 5G spectrum band. The corporation plans to build a private network for its data centres and other business functions using this spectrum band. Reliance Jio, owned by Mukesh Ambani, owns around half of the spectrum.  

December 2022: The Dharavi rehabilitation project is given to Adani by the Maharashtra government, backed by the BJP. In the centre of Mumbai, Dharavi occupies 240 hectares of land. Rehabilitating 60,000 families and creating contemporary residential and commercial complexes are the main objectives of the project. Adani had previously been outbid by a Dubai-based company for the same project, but the government called off the bidding, starting an ongoing legal battle.

January 2023: According to the Hindenburg report, the Indian government worked closely with the Adani Group. The report stated that the Adani Group had frequently been involved in corruption, money laundering, and theft of taxpayer funds. This total is estimated to be $17 billion in the US. In addition to this, the report accused the Indian government of blocking and obstructing the investigation. 

An unreasonable and extraordinary trajectory, even for a very successful corporation in the history of corporate growth, has been estimated for the Adani Group’s growth during the two terms of Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister. However, there has been no CBI or ED inquiry. 

According to a recent working paper by World Inequality Lab titled “Income and Wealth Inequality in India, 1922-2023: The Rise of the Billionaire Raj,” inequality declined after independence till the early 1980s, post which it started rising and increased abruptly from the early 2000s. 

Another report by Oxfam India on income disparity in India states that just 5% of Indians hold more than 60% of the nation’s wealth, while the poorest 50% of the population only own 3%. It also stated that 40% of the money generated in India between 2012 and 2021 went to just 1% of the population, and just 3% of the wealth went to the poorest 50% of the population. India has 228.9 million poor people, the most in the world, according to Oxfam. In contrast, India had a rise in the overall number of billionaires from 102 in 2020 to 166 in 2022. 

Even if these reports are disregarded, Narendra Modi himself stated that there are 80 crore poor families in India that will be provided free ration as the old scheme will be extended for the next five years under the One Nation, One Ration Card. This indicates that the rich have got richer and the poor have become poorer in the past decade. 

Many questions need to be answered not just by the Prime Minister or the business tycoons but by ED and CBI as well. The bigger question that now stands before India is, was it just a jibe that the Narendra Modi took at Congress or is there more that the people should know? Has Narender Modi accepted that the well-reputed business tycoons own black money? Are the politicians of India controlled by the rich and work only for them rather than the commoners? Why have the investigation agencies ignored the allegations made by Rahul Gandhi? 

Every allegation puts the CBI, ED and Narender Modi under the radar. Thus speculating that the CBI and ED might sit quietly for the next 5 years will not be completely wrong as Narender Modi is all set to be the Prime Minister for the third time. 

Despite these serious allegations, they were swept under the carpet and no investigation has been done. But now that the Prime Minister of India has indirectly accused Adani and Ambani of bribing the Congress to remain quiet, shouldn’t a thorough investigation be conducted by CBI and ED? There might be more to the story than the name, fame and the blame game.

gargisud
gargisud
What I seek as a journalist is to empower and inspire people in addition to providing information. Revealing obscure facts, elevating marginalized perspectives, and drawing focus to important matters that influence our society are my primary goals. My ultimate aim is to produce journalism that promotes significant change and a more educated and equitable society by adhering to the highest standards of ethics and compelling storytelling.
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