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Oppn seeks to raise Adani issue; Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha adjourned till 2 pm

NEW DELHI: Lok Sabha proceeding was adjourned till 2 pm on Thursday amid noisy scenes in the House as opposition members raised slogans demanding a discussion on the report of US-based short-seller Hindenburg Research on the Adani Group.

Members of almost all opposition parties rushed to the Well of the House raising slogans on the tanking of Adani Group scrips on the stock exchange and sought a probe into the business practices of the corporate giant.

Earlier, Speaker Om Birla welcomed a Parliamentary delegation from Zambia and started Question Hour.

Objecting to the noisy scenes, he asked the members not to make unsubstantiated claims and said Question Hour was an important part of Parliamentary proceedings which should not be disrupted.

As the slogan shouting continued, the Speaker adjourned House proceedings till 2 pm.

Ahead of Parliament proceedings, leaders of several opposition parties met to evolve a joint strategy to take on the Central government during the Budget Session and decided to seek a discussion on the Adani Group issue.

Leaders of like-minded parties met in the chamber of the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge. Leaders of the Congress, DMK, TMC, SP, JD(U), Shiv Sena, CPI(M), CPI, NCP, IUML, NC, AAP and the Kerala Congress were present at the meeting.

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 Gautam Adani-led 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.

On Wednesday night, Adani Enterprises announced that it has decided not to go ahead with its Rs 20,000-crore follow-on Public Offer (FPO) and will return the proceeds to investors.

In the Rajya Sabha, Opposition parties, including the Congress and the Shiv Sena, on Thursday sought a parliament debate on the fraud allegation triggered rout in Adani group company stocks, forcing an adjournment of the house in the pre-lunch session.

The rout threatened the value of investments made by the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and public sector banks. Adani group stocks, where LIC is heavily invested, have lost over USD 100 billion in value since a tiny New York short seller 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 and full of lies.

Nine MPs, including Leader of the Opposition and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi and Aam Aadmi Party’s Sanjay Singh, gave notices under rule 267. They sought the suspension of regular business to discuss the Adani group stock route and its impact on millions of small investors as well as the hard earned savings of crores of Indians being endangered in loss of value of investments of LIC.

Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar rejected all the notices saying they were not in order. This infuriated the Opposition MPs who rose in their places to protest.

Dhankar called for order in the House but the MPs continued to raise their demands, which also included the constitution of a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to probe the entire fiasco.

With the MPs not relenting, he adjourned the proceedings till 2 pm. No business was transacted.

Thursday is the first full sitting day of the Budget session of Parliament that started on January 31. President Droupadi Murmu delivered her address to the joint sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on the opening day and the Union Budget for fiscal year starting April 1 (2023-24) was presented on Wednesday.

Others who gave notices include CPI’s Binoy Viswam and P Santhosh Kumar, BRS MP K Keshava Rao, CPM’s Elamaram Kareem and V Sivadasan, and DMK’s Tiruchi Siva.

Dhankhar said he had on December 8, 2022 and thereafter indicated the requirements for accepting a 267 notice.

“I have carefully gone through all the notices received. I find they are not in order as none of the notices fulfils the requirement that is expressly mandated in rule 267. In such a helpless situation I am unable to accede to the same. They are declined.”

LIC has sizable holding in almost all the 10 listed companies of the Adani Group. The holdings include 9 per cent in Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone, 3.7 per cent in Adani Transmission, 1.3 per cent in Adani Green Energy and 6 per cent in Adani Total Gas Ltd.

LIC, India’s largest life insurer, invested about Rs 300 crore in buying 9,15,748 more shares as an anchor investor in a Rs 20,000-crore new share sale by Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL). AEL late on Wednesday cancelled the share sale due to market volatility and decided to return the money to investors.


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