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The inability of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to reach a conclusive finding on allegations of round-tripping and money laundering by the Adani Group is deeply troubling, according to Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh. SEBI has admitted this in its status report to the Supreme Court. Ramesh added that only a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) can examine how the government flouted norms and procedures to favor the Prime Minister’s “favorite business group.”

Ramesh shared the statement on social media, emphasizing SEBI’s inability to reach a final conclusion in the matter of round-tripping and money-laundering allegations against the Adani Group. The Congress leader noted that of the 24 matters SEBI investigated, two still have interim status. One of the interim reports relates to the important question of whether Adani violated the Minimum Public Shareholding requirement under Rule 19A of the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Rules.

According to Ramesh, the country is clearly paying a heavy price for SEBI’s decision in 2018 to dilute and in 2019 to delete the reporting requirements relating to the ultimate beneficial ownership of foreign funds. He pointed out that the Supreme Court’s Expert Committee highlighted that SEBI has failed to identify beneficial ownership of overseas investors in Adani companies due to its decision to remove these stipulations.

Ramesh claimed that the reintroduction of strict reporting rules following the SEBI board’s 28 June 2023 meeting represents a public admission of guilt by the regulatory body. He also raised questions about whether SEBI will do its fiduciary duty and identify the source of the Rs 20,000 crore of benami overseas funds that have flowed into the Adani Group.

The Congress leader emphasized the need for a JPC to examine how the Modi government flouted rules, norms, and procedures to help the Prime Minister’s favorite business group. He also mentioned that SEBI has completed the probe in all but two allegations against the Adani Group and is still awaiting information from five tax havens on actual owners behind foreign investors investing in the conglomerate.

In addition, Ramesh mentioned the allegations made by the US short-seller Hindenburg Research, which triggered a stock market rout. The Adani Group has denied all allegations by Hindenburg.

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