The Adani Group has issued a statement against UK-based newspaper Financial Times, accusing it of running a “malicious campaign” to financially destabilise the conglomerate.
The Adani Group recently issued a statement accusing UK-based media outlet Financial Times (FT) of running a “malicious campaign”, alleging that the media outlet has been recycling old and unsubstantiated allegations to harm the global reputation of the conglomerate.
In the Adani Group condemned what it referred to as the FT’s “extended campaign” to serve undisclosed interests under the guise of public concern.
“There is a renewed attempt by the Financial Times and its collaborators to rehash old and baseless allegations to tarnish the name and standing of the Adani Group. This is part of their extended campaign to advance vested interests under the guise of public interest,” the Adani Group said in a statement.
Continuing their relentless campaign, the next attack is being fronted by Dan McCrum of the Financial Times, The OCCRP is funded by George Soros, who has openly declared his hostility against the Adani Group,” the statement added.
The conglomerate accused the FT of attempting to “financially destabilize” the Adani Group by resurrecting an old and unfounded accusation of over-invoicing coal imports.
The FT had reportedly published an article on August 31, 2023, in collaboration with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). The OCCRP is funded by George Soros, who has been openly critical of the Adani Group.
The FT’s story was said to be based on a General Alert Circular No.11/2016/CI dated March 30, 2016, issued by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).
The Adani Group pointed out that the circular mentioned as many as 40 importers, including Adani Group companies. These importers encompassed several major private power generators in India, such as Reliance Infra, JSW Steels, and Essar, along with state power generating companies from various regions and government entities like NTPC and MSTC.
“The FT’s brazen agenda is exposed by the fact that they have singled out the Adani Group, while the DRI’s Circular, the raison d’ªtre for the whole story, mentions as many as 40 importers including the Adani Group companies,” said the conglomerate.
The Adani Group highlighted a specific case involving Knowledge Infrastructure, one of the 40 importers listed in the DRI’s circular.
According to the conglomerate, the DRI’s Show Cause Notice alleging over-valuation in the import of coal was quashed by the appellate tribunal (CESTAT). Furthermore, the DRI’s appeal was reportedly withdrawn by the Supreme Court of India on January 24, 2023, with an acknowledgment of the government’s stance against engaging in futile litigation.
This, according to the Adani Group, conclusively settled the matter of overvaluation in coal imports.
‘Clever recycling and selective misrepresentation’
The Adani Group accused the Financial Times of selectively misrepresenting publicly available information and judicial decisions to arrive at a predetermined conclusion. It also criticised the UK-based media outlet for showing little respect for India’s regulatory and judicial processes.
“The FT’s proposed storyline is a clever recycling and selective misrepresentation of publicly available facts and information with a deliberate and mischievous suppression of judicial decisions to arrive at a predetermined conclusion,” it said.
Regarding coal procurement, the Adani Group pointed out that it is conducted through an open, transparent, global bidding process for long-term supply, which eliminates any potential for price manipulation.
The tariffs, it noted, are determined by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) through an independent and transparent process that considers all variables and involves consultations with stakeholders.
The Adani Group expressed its disappointment with foreign entities like OCCRP, sections of the foreign media, short-sellers, and domestic collaborators, accusing them of orchestrating a series of attacks with the primary intent of damaging the Adani Group’s market value. It alleged that these entities have developed a coordinated strategy that often coincides with important court hearings in India.
“It is unfortunate that some foreign entities like the OCCRP, supported by a section of the foreign media, short-sellers and domestic collaborators, have launched a series of attacks against the Adani Group with the primary intent of dragging down its market value,” Adani Group said.
“In fact, these individuals and groups, bound by the common objective of damaging the Adani Group, have developed a playbook which is being executed to perfection by well-oiled and professional machinery working in sync both within India and abroad,” it added.
This latest dispute is not the first time the Adani Group has faced allegations and scrutiny. It previously denied accusations made by the Hindenburg Group earlier this year, which claimed accounting fraud, stock price manipulation, and improper use of tax havens, leading to a significant reduction in the conglomerate’s market value.
The asserting that the allegations were baseless. The group has maintained that it denies “all such allegations, which are false and baseless” and also condemns “such deliberate, and motivated attempts to destabilize the Adani Group”