Accusations and evidence seem to be piling up against Gautam Adani’s group. Already in January, Hindenburg Research accused the Indian tycoon of being guilty of “brazen accounting fraud, stock manipulation and money laundering”. According to the American investment research firm, a vast labyrinth of shell companies based abroad allegedly collectively transferred billions of dollars into Adani’s publicly traded companies, in particular in order to make people believe in their good financial health. At the time, Gautam Adani’s conglomerate responded by describing the American firm’s report as“calculated attack on India”.
But a new investigation, published in August by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), reveals details of a complex offshore operation in Mauritius, apparently controlled by Adani ociates, which was allegedly used to support the share price of its group of companies from 2013 to 2018.
Two men who “have close ties with the Adani family” reportedly spent several years buying and selling shares in the group worth hundreds of millions of dollars. “There is evidence that the investment funds they used to purchase Adani Group shares received instructions from a company controlled by a high-ranking member of the Adani family.”writes OCCRP.
” Too complicated “
After the release of the Hindenburg report, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi faced a series of questions about the nature of his relationship with Gautam Adani, the opposition having made it one of its major themes within Parliament. The Hindu nationalist was also questioned over accusations of favoritism the group allegedly benefited from from his government.
“One of the main elements of the opposition’s strategy for the 2024 legislative elections is to say that this government is captured by a small handful of elite businesses and that this goes against the interests of citizens ordinary », confirms Milan Vaishnav, director of the South Asia program at the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace. But “the chain of events denounced by the Hindenburg report is far too complicated to make a simple story”, he warns. The researcher believes that “The average Indian is not willing to believe that Modi is personally corrupt. This is why the attack on Adani is unlikely to succeed. Moreover, there is also no irrefutable evidence directly linking him to Modi.”