Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said he has not asked NCP supremo Sharad Pawar about his recent meetings with Gautam Adani, asserting that the Maratha strongman was neither the prime minister and nor was he protecting the billionaire businessman.
Pawar's meetings with Adani amidst demands by several INDIA bloc parties for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into allegations levelled by US-based short seller Hindenburg has raised eyebrows in the opposition ranks.
Asked whether he had questioned Pawar about his meetings with Adani that seemed at odds with the stand taken by many opposition parties, Gandhi said, "No, I have not asked this. Sharad Pawar is not the prime minister of India. Sharad Pawar is not protecting Mr Adani, Mr Modi is and that is why, I ask Mr Modi this question and not Mr Sharad Pawar."
"If Mr Sharad Pawar was sitting as the prime minister of India, and if he was protecting Mr Adani, then I would be asking Mr Sharad Pawar that question," the former Congress chief said at a press conference at the AICC headquarters here.
Pawar had visited Adani's office and residence in Ahmedabad in September. In April this year, Adani had visited Pawar's Silver Oak residence in south Mumbai. This meeting, which lasted for almost two hours, came within days of Pawar coming out in support of Adani and criticising the narrative being built around the Hindenburg report.
His position was seen at variance with his allies such as the Congress, which has been seeking a JPC probe into the allegations of fraud and stock market manipulations against the Adani Group.
Pawar had at that time stated that he favoured a Supreme Court committee probing allegations against the Adani Group.
Adani had also visited Pawar's residence in June. The relationship between Pawar and Adani goes back nearly two decades. In his Marathi autobiography 'Lok Maze Saangati', published in 2015, Pawar heaped praises on Adani who at the time was venturing into the coal sector.
The Congress has also been questioning the financial dealings of the Adani Group after Hindenburg alleged "irregularities" and charged it with stock price manipulation.
The Adani Group has denied all the allegations made in the Hindenburg report and claimed there has been no wrongdoing on its part.
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