Failing and falling

Adani has turned to nationalism to shield itself from fraud allegations

Hindenburg Research has said it is the business group that is "looting the nation"
Adani has turned to nationalism to shield itself from fraud allegations
Image: Amit Dave (Reuters)
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This post has been updated.

India’s Adani group has claimed that the allegations of serious fraud it has faced from US-based Hindenburg Research are an attack on India itself.

The Gautam Adani-led conglomerate, which has surged in recent years to become one of India’s most important business groups, has often been deemed “too big to fail” as far as the country and its economy are concerned.

On Jan. 24, New York-based Hindenburg Research alleged that the Adani group was pulling the biggest con in corporate history. Yesterday (Jan. 29), the company released a detailed response saying this was “not merely an unwarranted attack on any specific company but a calculated attack on India, the independence, integrity, and quality of Indian institutions, and the growth story and ambition of India.”

Earlier, within hours of Hindenburg’s report being published, the company released a video in which the group’s chief financial officer Jugeshinder Singh appeared standing near the Indian national flag. He said the allegations were a “malicious combination of selective misinformation and stale, baseless, and discredited allegations that have been tested and rejected by India’s highest courts.”

In an interview with Mint business daily, he compared Hindenburg’s charges and the strong reaction to it among a section of Indians to the massacre in 1919 at Jallianwala Bagh in which British troops fired at a crowd of Indians.

“In Jallianwala Bagh, only one Englishman gave an order, and Indians fired on other Indians. So am I surprised by the behavior of some fellow Indians? No,” said Singh, himself a citizen of Australia.

Statement from Adani Group CFO Jugeshinder Singh on Hindenburg Research’s report

In response to the conglomerate’s detailed response issued yesterday, Hindenburg today said the Gautam Adani-led group’s reaction had tried to deflect focus and “instead stoked a nationalist narrative, claiming our report amounted to a calculated attack on India.”

“...We also believe India’s future is being held back by the Adani Group, which has draped itself in the Indian flag while systematically looting the nation,” the group said in its statement.

The Adani group’s seven listed companies have, meanwhile, nosedived in the markets. Hindenburg’s report has apparently caused a $66 billion wipe-out in their market capitalization till now.