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Left, right, centre — all governments including Kerala, West Bengal need Adani

Gautam Adani, Adani Group Chairman

Notwithstanding the Hindenburg report claiming gross manipulation of the stock market by the Adani Group, leading to opposition parties raising their pitch against billionaire industrialist Gautam Adai, the chairman of the conglomerate, last week the Kerala government handed Rs 100 crore to the Adani Group as its share for the construction of the Vizhinjam Port project.

Though the state government was to pay 25 per cent of the construction cost amounting to more than Rs 340 crore by the end of March 31, it is now hoping to make the payment by end of this month The Vizhinjam deep water sea port in Kerala is being developed as India’s first Mega Transshipment Container Terminal.

In 2015, the project was awarded to Adani, which was the only bidder.

Last year, the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal awarded the Tajpur deep sea port project to Adani Ports. The letter of Award was presented at a high profile post Durga Puja event hosted by the state government. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee herself was present at the event. The project, which would cost Rs 15000 crore will create 25, direct 000 jobs, the state government said.

Karan Adani, CEO Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ), who received the letter tweeted, “Elated to share that @Adaniports has signed a LoI for Tajpur Port, West Bengal’s 1st Deep Sea Port. We’re poised to build not just a port but a complete infrastructural ecosystem which will become a maritime gateway for the entire Eastern India.”

Not just that. Last year, Adani also committed to invest Rs 65,000 crore to develop solar power in the Congress ruled Rajasthan.

The Congress has been demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the Adani-Hindenburg issue. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the BJP government has been focused on increasing the income of Adani while protecting him from investigation. But Gandhi’s relentless attacks are now causing some embarrassment for his party people and their allies. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar on Saturday said that though his party had pressed for a joint parliamentary committee probe into Hindenburg allegations on the Adani Group, the investigation and findings by the Supreme Court-monitored panel will be more reliable.

“It is not very comfortable for the Congress at the state level..especially since the proposed investments by the Adanis are huge..it is becoming embarrassing for many,” an insider said.

And now with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar has come out saying the Hindenburg report is aimed at targeting the Adani Group and that there was no need for a JPC probe into the issue. Pawar, in an interview to NDTV, also said that he did not agree with Rahul Gandhi’s “Adani-Ambani” style of targeting big business houses.

While Trinamool Congress has been asking non BJP states to run their own investigations on the Adani businesses, West Bengal, it is yet to launch a probe in West Bengal, where the party is in power. The TMC and NCP also opted to stay away from the joint protest against Adani led by other opposition parties.

Adani’s investments are across India. The conglomerate has mega investment plans in Andhra Pradesh too. Karan, son of billionaire Gautam Adani, last month announced that the company would be setting up two new cement manufacturing plants, 15,000 MW of renewable power projects and a data centre in the state.

Bloomberg in a report said that If Adani didn’t exist, the Indian government would have had to invent him: The development model we have now chosen requires risk-taking “national champions” such as the Adani Group.

It further noted that the “public sector is too inefficient to build what India needs; the rest of the private sector is too concerned about political risk.”

The Australian website Adani Watch – a non profit news website established by the Bob Brown Foundation “to shine a light on the Adani Group’s misdeeds across the planet” has been relentlessly putting out information against the group. The website put up a tweet by Gandhi attacking Adani. “As the foreign website has now put up Rahul Gandhi’s tweet attacking Adani, many are no more comfortable,” the insider said.

“All political parties need billionaire Gautam Adani’s investment but none is willing to own him,” he added.

Also read: Hindenburg report targeted Adani Group, no need for JPC probe, says Sharad Pawar