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After Soros backed OCCRP, FT targets Adani for alleged ‘coal scam’, Rahul Gandhi uses it to attack Modi when the transaction happened when his mom was super-PM

While Mr Gandhi accused the Modi government of committing a 'scam' over the Adani's sale of Indonesian coal to the Tamil Nadu company, the FT article says that the suspicions of wrongdoing stem from invoices dated from January 2014, when Manmohan Singh-led UPA-II was in power and six months before Modi would assume the PMO after a historic mandate.

Earlier today, senior Congress leader and former president Rahul Gandhi shot himself in the foot, yet again, when he attacked the Modi government over a recently published report in the Financial Times that accused the Adani Group of committing a ‘scam’ by selling low-grade coal as high-value fuel.

Tweeting in Hindi, the Gandhi scion said that a ‘big coal scam’ has come to light under the BJP government.

“Through this scam that has been going on for years, Modiji’s favourite friend Adani has looted thousands of crores of rupees by selling low-grade coal at three times the price, the price of which the common people have paid from their pockets by paying expensive electricity bills. Will the Prime Minister tell how many tempos were used to keep ED, CBI and IT quiet on this open corruption?” tweeted Gandhi, adding that the INDI government will investigate this mega scam and account for every penny looted from the public once it forms its government after June 4.

The Financial Times recently published an article titled “Adani suspected of fraud by selling low-grade coal as high-value fuel”, in what appears as a part of its concerted attempt to slander the Indian business conglomerate with allegations of committing a ‘scam’ involving the sale of coal from Indonesia to India. It is worth mentioning that there is no evidence furnished by the Financial Times to back its claim of ‘fraud’ committed by the Adani Group over the coal sale.

While Mr Gandhi seemed to lap up the FT allegations without conducting due diligence, the article says that the suspicions of wrongdoing stem from January 2014 dated invoices of an Indonesian shipment of coal said to contain 3,500 calories per kilogramme purchased by Adani. 

In other words, the Financial Times report says it was in January 2014, which was during the UPA-II era, when Manmohan Singh was the country’s Prime Minister, that the alleged scam took place. 

The relevant section from The Financial Times report on allegations of fraud against the Adani Group

Curiously, the transaction took place between the Adani Group and the Tamil Nadu Generation and the Distribution Company (Tangedco) when the former was accused of selling off 3,500 calories per kilogramme grade fuel as 6,000 calories per kilogramme fuel, among the most valuable grades. According to the report, the purported scam period was 2012-2016 and it took place in Tamil Nadu.

Alleged coal scam dated to January 2014, when MMS-led UPA-II was in power, and in Tamil Nadu, where AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa was CM

While the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government was at the centre in 2012 and in January 2014, Tamil Nadu was then governed by AIADMK and the chief minister of the state was J. Jayalalithaa. Ms Jayalalithaa ruled Tamil Nadu from 2011 to September 2014, and again from May 2015 to May 2016 with a brief hiatus when Paneerselvam was the chief minister. It is also notable to mention that the BJP was not in the government at the Centre in January 2014 or Tamil Nadu from 2012 to 2016, when the alleged scam about coal sales by the Adani Group had taken place. 

In his tweet, the Gandhi scion alleged that the scam occurred during the Modi government. However, Prime Minister Modi assumed office in June 2014, several months after the invoices for the sale of Indonesian coal were issued in January 2014. Modi’s historic election victory came after defeating the UPA-II government, which had been marred by numerous corruption scandals, policy paralysis, and chronic misgovernance.

Even as the latest report by the Financial Times does little to prove how the sale of Indonesian coal by the Adani Group to the Tamil Nadu company in January 2014 is a scam, let alone one under the watch of the Modi government, Rahul Gandhi’s spirited co-option of the controversy without delving into the details and the timeline of the incidents illustrates his aversion to facts and his chronic habit of shooting himself in the foot. 

The George Soros link to the FT report targeting Adani over alleged coal scam

Meanwhile, the FT report states that it obtained documents of the transaction between a ship carrying Indonesian coal and the Adani Group from an organisation named OCCRP. This organisation, OCCRP, or the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, is a foundation backed by global manipulator George Soros and has been one among a nexus of organisations that were involved in carrying out hitjobs against the Adani Group.

George Soros-backed OCCRP Foundation shared documents with FT against the Adani Group

OCCRP had in the past directed its efforts to target business groups in India, most notably the Adani Group. It hit the national headlines in August 2023 after media reports claimed it was planning an exposé on an unidentified corporate house in India over the investment of ‘overseas funds’.

Founded in 2006, OCCRP claims to have a network of journalists across 6 continents who specialise in reporting on organised crime and corruption. It is one of the many fronts for George Soros and his Open Society Foundations to influence civil society and ‘distort’ public perspectives across different nations.

A cursory glance at the ‘India’ page of the organisation reveals the organisation’s fixation with distorting public perception about PM Narendra Modi and presenting the Indian Prime Minister as a ‘demagogue’ and an electoral autocrat. The organisation was also seen fearmongering about the State of democracy in India and reiterating propaganda of dubious fact-checkers of Alt News about news agency, ANI.

Adani Group is a target of Western organisations and media outlets after Rahul Gandhi’s unsubstantiated allegations of crony capitalism

Intriguingly, the Adani Group has been a target of hitjobs by several Western organisations and media outfits, especially after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi accused PM Modi of favouring the Indian business conglomerate, often with empty rhetorics and no evidence. Last year, Hindenburg Research attacked the group, prompting a freefall in the stock price of its flagship company, Adani Enterprises. The stock price eventually recovered and is trading close to its lifetime high, a strong indicator of the Group’s robust balance sheet is robust  

Similarly, the Financial Times had in March 2023 published an article targeting the Adani Group, stating that the business conglomerate’s foreign direct investment came from offshore entities linked to the family. The group rubbished the allegations by the Financial Times stating that it was a “mendacious, deliberate effort to paint the Adani Group and the Adani family in the worst possible light.”

“Our statement to your reporter, that all the transactions about which the Financial Times inquired have been publicly disclosed, is accurate, and the story amply demonstrates that your reporters conveniently chose not to look in a meaningful way at those public disclosures or even at the related press releases (including ones that the Financial Times covered at the time),” the statement released by the Adani Group said.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Amit Kelkar
Amit Kelkar
a Pune based IT professional with keen interest in politics

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