Congress accuses Modi-led GoI of ‘foisting’ Adani Group on Sri Lanka

Modi on Adani's plane. [File Photo]

New Delhi: The Congress on Sunday accused the government of India of “lobbying” in favour of the Adani Group for projects in Sri Lanka and “foisting” the business conglomerate on the important neighbour of India.

The opposition party has been persistent in its attack on the government, weeks after Adani Group stocks took a beating on the bourses in the wake of US-based short seller Hindenburg Research making a litany of allegations, including fraudulent transactions and share-price manipulation, on the conglomerate headed by industrialist Gautam Adani.

Posing a set of three questions to Modi as part of the party’s “Hum Adani ke Hain Kaun” series, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said they had previously asked Modi on his “apparent haste” to “enrich the Adani Group at the expense of Bangladesh and now, want answers on how he has been “foisting” the business group on another important neighbour, Sri Lanka.

“Parliament resumes on March 13. We are preparing for our interventions to be expunged. But what cannot be erased out is ‘Hum Adanike Hain Kaun’-26 bringing the total of direct questions of the PM so far to 78,” Ramesh tweeted.

He said the governments of India, Japan and Sri Lanka (then headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe) signed a memorandum on May 28, 2019 to develop the East Container Terminal in the Colombo South port.

A year later, on June 9, 2020, the Sri Lankan cabinet headed by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa announced that India had “selected” Adani Ports as its foreign terminal operator, Ramesh was quoted as saying by news agency PTI

He added that following the unexpected cancellation of the deal, the Rajapaksa government instead offered Colombo’s West Container Terminal to India and Japan under a 35-year build, operate and transfer lease, which was finalised on September 30, 2021.

“A Sri Lankan cabinet spokesperson said that India had ‘nominated’ Adani Ports as the partner. Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry described it as a ‘government-to-government’ port project in a 5 March 2023 interview. On what basis did you ‘select’ and ‘nominate’ Adani Ports for this government-to-government deal?” Ramesh asked in his statement addressed to Modi.

“Did any other Indian firms have the opportunity to consider investing or did you simply reserve the deal for your close friends?” he asked, as per PTI report.

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