Congress claimed Thursday that the government wanted to “hand over” India’s food grain logistics to the Adani group and that such a “conspiracy” was only temporarily thwarted by farmer agitation, which forced the repeal of three farm laws.
Weeks after Adani Group shares took a hit on the stock markets after US-based short seller Hindenburg Research made a slew of allegations including fraudulent transactions and stock price manipulation, Congress has been persistent in its attacks on the government.
The group, led by Gautam Adani, has denied the allegations as lies and said it abides by all laws and disclosure requirements.
Congress Secretary-General Jairam Ramesh asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi three questions as part of the party’s Hum Adani ke Hain Kaun series, saying Thursday’s questions related to the “hard work” the Modi government is putting into the ” handover”. India’s food grain logistics to Adani Group.
“A lap of honor around the stadium he named after himself during his lifetime is a good opportunity to usher in a quarter century of pointed questions with ‘Hum Adani ke Hain Kaun’,” Ramesh tweeted, referring to the presence of Prime Minister Modi and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese during a Test cricket match between India and Australia in Ahmedabad.
He claimed that the “conspiracy” was apparently only temporarily foiled by the 2020-21 peasant agitation, which forced the government to withdraw “black farm laws.”
“The publication ‘AdaniWatch’ has reported that on October 13, 2022 the Supreme Court of India overturned a ruling by the Gujarat High Court dated June 30, 2021 that favored Adani Ports and SEZ over the state-owned Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC), and said the High Court’s ruling “is not legally tenable,” Ramesh claimed.
Established in 1957 to meet India’s food storage needs, the company stored 55 lakh tons of food grain in 2021-22, he said.
“The Supreme Court found that the Department of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution had supported the CWC’s position, while the Department of Trade and Industry had supported Adani’s bid to take control of two large CWC warehouses near the port of Mundra by not supporting the designation of the CWC camp as part of the Adani Special Economic Zone,” he claimed, citing the publication.
“The ruling stated that ‘it does not bode well for the Union of India to speak with two conflicting voices’ and that ‘two sections of the Union of India cannot be allowed to take positions that are diagonally opposed'” said Ramesh.
Why did the Department of Trade and Industry, then led by Nirmala Sitharaman, oppose a strategic public sector venture and favor the prime minister’s “favorite business group,” Ramesh asked.
“Would she have the courage to do so without clear instructions from above?” he said.
“This Adani-inspired inter-ministerial conflict was allowed to continue even after Piyush Goyal became Minister of Trade and Industry (in May 2019) and Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution (in October 2020). If a minister who is considered pro-business does not take the initiative to support a public sector entity for which he is responsible, it is not logical to assume that he will instead support the Adani group, in order to have a strong “electoral link”. build her up ?” said Ramesh.
Ramesh claimed the whole country knew the motivation behind the “ill-conceived” farm bills was to “hand over” India’s farm logistics to a few of the Prime Minister’s “close business cronies”.
“One of the biggest beneficiaries of the agricultural laws would have been Adani Agri Logistics, which has become the main beneficiary of the Food Corporation of India’s silo contracts, with the latest award establishing 3.5 lakh metric ton warehouses in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar,” he claimed .
Meanwhile, Adani Farm-Pik has been allowed to establish a near-monopoly on apple sourcing in Himachal Pradesh, he claimed.
Is India’s public sector, painstakingly built over the past 70 years, now reduced to being a vehicle for enriching the prime minister’s “corporate friends,” he asked.
Ramesh urged the Prime Minister to break his “silence” on the issue.