Indian PM Modi fends off attack over Adani links, recounts past scams

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi avoided any direct mention of the Adani Group’s tussle with a US short seller and a subsequent rout in its market value, instead lashing out at corruption within the opposition and highlighting the South Asian nation’s economic success during his tenure.

“The world sees it’s own prosperity in India’s prosperity,” Modi said in the lower house of parliament Wednesday. “Some negative people cannot accept this.”

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The ninety-minute-long speech was the leader’s first address to the legislature since US short seller Hindenburg Research accused the Adani conglomerate of widespread fraud and stock market manipulation.

The group has shed more than $100 billion in market value since allegations were made in a January 24 report, which have been repeatedly denied by the conglomerate.

The opposition has been highlighting the ties between Modi and Adani and the tycoon’s meteoric growth that mirrors the Indian leader’s own rise to the top elected office. Modi continued to avoid any direct reference to Adani’s troubles and the opposition allegations.

The opposition, led by the Congress party, has been raising the issue in parliament and highlighting that millions of small investors could be at risk because of the exposure of state-owned institutions in Adani’s businesses and demanding a probe by a panel of lawmakers. However, their protests have had little traction outside the legislature so far.

Millions of farmers, poor and women who have benefited from the government’s social benefit schemes will not believe the “false allegations of the opposition,” Modi said.

He described the ten years of Congress rule, that ended with him sweeping to power in 2014, as the “most corrupt in recent years.”

His speech was interrupted by repeated opposition heckling and demands for a parliamentary probe in to the allegations against Adani’s businesses. Modi ignored the pandemonium.

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