Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Thursday claimed that state-owned Life Insurance Corporation of India and State Bank of India continued to invest in the Adani group despite the shares of its companies crashed after short seller Hindenburg alleged financial irregularities by the conglomerate.
Talking to reporters here he wondered if money deposited by government employees in the National Pension Scheme (NPS) was also invested in the Gautam Adani group.
Asked about a report by Hindenburg Research, Baghel said, “When we used to speak against the BJP, we were dubbed as anti-Hindu and when against the Prime Minister and home minister, we were described as anti-national. Now the comments have come (from Adani group) that they (Hindenburg) are Bharat Virodhi (anti-India). They (Adani group) are saying it is an attack on Bharat and not on Adani. Who is Bharat? Is Adani ji Bharat?”
Adani group stocks, where LIC is invested, have lost over $100 billion in value since the New York-based Hindenburg came out with a damning report alleging financial and accounting fraud by the ports-to-energy conglomerate. The Adani group has denied all charges and called the report malicious, full of lies and a “calculated attack” on India.
“Chhattisgarh had sought to refund the money to the tune of Rs 17,000 crore deposited towards NPS to implement the old pension scheme but it was not given to us. I suspect this money has been invested (in Adani group). LIC, SBI and UTI are fund managers. Now when the entire share market fell, even then LIC invested money and bought shares. So understand the risk,” said the CM of the Congress-ruled state.
Demanding clarification from the government of India, he said economic experts should also speak on the present situation.
“We fear NPS money, which is the support base of employees in their old age after retirement, will be lost. This is worrying. Just one report and the stocks came down like a pack of cards. See what all happened in a week’s time and despite this, LIC's money is continuing to be invested in it which is worrying,” he added.
In Parliament, Opposition parties on Thursday sought a debate and a probe by a joint committee into the fraud-allegation-triggered rout in Adani group company stocks, forcing adjournment of proceedings in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in the pre-lunch session.
Adani Group stocks have taken a beating on the bourses after Hindenburg Research made a litany of allegations in its report, including fraudulent transactions and share price manipulation at the Adani group.
The Adani group has dismissed the charges as lies, saying it complies with all laws and disclosure requirements. It termed the Hindenburg report baseless and threatened to sue the short seller.
-With PTI Input