Thu. Sep 21st, 2023
    Adani-Hindenburg Matter Takes Another Twist with Petitioner’s Allegations Against Expert Committee

    In a recent development in the ongoing Adani-Hindenburg matter, the petitioner seeking a Court-monitored investigation against the Adani group companies has filed a new affidavit in the Supreme Court. The affidavit raises concerns about the Expert Committee constituted by the Supreme Court to review the regulatory mechanism in light of the Adani-Hindenburg issue.

    According to the petitioner, three out of the six members of the committee do not inspire confidence due to their backgrounds and relationships with Adani. The affidavit highlights the conflicts of interest of some committee members and questions their ability to impartially review the matter.

    One of the committee members, OP Bhatt, the former chairman of the State Bank of India, is currently working as the Chairman of Greenko. The affidavit points out that since March 2022, Greenko and Adani Group have been working closely together to provide energy to Adani’s facilities in India. This affiliation raises concerns about a clear conflict of interest, which should have been disclosed by Bhatt himself. The affidavit also mentions that Bhatt was examined by the CBI in 2018 in a case related to alleged wrongdoing in disbursing loans to Vijay Mallya, a fugitive economic offender.

    Another member of the committee, Somashekhar Sundaresan, has been Adani’s lawyer in various forums, including the SEBI Board. The petitioner had previously raised concerns about this conflict of interest.

    The affidavit further highlights the involvement of K V Kamath, the former chairman of ICICI Bank, in a fraud case related to Chanda Kochhar, the former Managing Director and CEO of ICICI Bank. The CBI alleged that Kamath, who was a member of the committee that sanctioned the loans, was involved in approving loans that later turned into non-performing assets.

    Based on these allegations, the petitioner has requested the disbanding of the Expert Committee and the constitution of a new committee. The petitioner argues that the present committee may fail to inspire confidence among the people of the country and calls for the formation of a fresh committee.

    This latest development adds to the ongoing controversy surrounding the Adani-Hindenburg matter. Just a week ago, the petitioner had raised concerns about the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) having a conflict of interest in investigating the matter. The petitioner alleged that SEBI had made amendments to protect Adani group from regulatory contraventions and price manipulations.

    It remains to be seen how the Supreme Court will respond to these allegations and whether a new committee will be constituted to review the matter.

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