A third public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the Supreme Court on the Adani-Hindenburg controversy has sought an investigation into the State Bank of India (SBI) and Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) for investing public money in Adani companies without due diligence.
The plea further seeks an investigation against the Adani group of companies under various laws under the supervision and monitoring of a sitting judge of the apex court.
Filed by Congress leader Jaya Thakur, the plea alleges that LIC and SBI invested in Adani Enterprises’ follow-on public offering (which was later called off) at the rate of Rs 3,200 per share when the price of the share in the secondary market was approximately Rs 1,800.
Thakur has filed the petition against the Union of India, home ministry, Central Bureau of Investigation, Directorate of Enforcement, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Securities and Exchange Board of India, Reserve Bank of India, Serious Fraud Investigation Office, LIC, SBI, and the Adani group.
Her petition alleges that:
1) The Hindenburg report indicates that the Adan group has inflated the share prices of its various companies and has obtained loans worth Rs 82,000 crore from various public sector and private banks citing the inflated price.
2) The Adani group and its associates have set up offshore shell companies in various tax havens such as Mauritius, Cyprus, UAE, Singapore, and Caribbean islands for the transfer of money through hawala (informal money transfer) routes, thereby indulging in money laundering.
3) LIC, SBI and several public sector companies invested huge amounts of public money in the Adani group without due diligence and have put several thousands of crores of rupees of public money at risk.
4) According to the Hindenburg report, associates of Adani groups have been accused in various cases and booked by the DRI
5) A huge quantity of narcotics drugs was seized at the Adani-owned Mundra Port, but no action has been taken by any investigating agency
6) Adani group’s illegal practice of inflating its company's share prices before putting them up as collateral for seeking loans from banks has lowered the confidence of overseas investors in India due to which the quantum of foreign investment in India is likely to come down, which will, in turn, affect the Indian economy and the reputation of India at the global level
The first two petitions were filed by lawyers ML Sharma and Vishal Tiwari, and will now come up for hearing on February 17.
On February 13, solicitor general Tushar Mehta informed the Supreme Court that it has no objection to form a committee to come up with suggestions to strengthen the existing regulatory mechanism to protect investors from market volatility