The Congress on Thursday said the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) felt the compulsion of strengthening disclosure norms for foreign portfolio investors because of the party's sustained pressure manifested through 100 questions and the Supreme Court’s subtle nudge, and insisted it should be applicable retrospectively.
The Congress said the regulation was diluted on December 31, 2018, and finally deleted on August 21, 2019, to help a select few capitalists and the restoration of the regulation should not spare alleged investments into the Adani group through shell companies.
The Congress seized the opportunity to shift focus on the Adani issue by releasing a booklet containing its 100 questions in the Hum Adani Ke Hain Kaun (HAHK) series and declaring that this would remain the main concern of the joint Opposition in the monsoon session of Parliament.
Congress communications chief Jairam Ramesh said: “The Sebi consultation paper put out yesterday proposes to tighten the very rules it was forced to dilute in 2018 to allow foreign portfolio investors to invest in Indian companies without having to reveal their full ownership details. This was done to benefit Modani. We hope the consultation paper is not an eyewash exercise and will cover investments made earlier. This seems to be a response to the findings of the Supreme Court expert committee. It also vindicates the HAHK series of 100 questions that we asked of the Prime Minster — which he remains totally silent on.”
Addressing a media conference, Ramesh said after releasing the booklet containing the 100 questions: “In the new Parliament building, we are going to demand a joint parliament committee; the entire Opposition is united on this demand. We have said since the very beginning that only a JPC can look into the whole gamut of issues. The real question is — who owns Rs 20,000 crore invested in the Adani group through shell companies?”
The Congress has also started making short video clips for social media platforms based on the questions it had asked. Ramesh said: “Any other investigation would have sufficed if it were an Adani issue. But it is a Modani issue. Only a JPC can unravel the truth.”
The Congress asked under whose pressure Sebi had diluted and finally deleted the requirement for full disclosure of foreign investors. “This is a step towards transparency. Let’s see what happens next,” Ramesh added.