The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is reportedly struggling to gather essential documents, particularly from foreign sources, for its ongoing investigation into allegations levelled by Hindenburg Research against the Adani Group.
What Happened: The regulator has also reached out to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) for crucial information related to the matter, the Economic Times reported, citing sources.
OCCRP had published a report on August 31, alleging that the Indian conglomerate routed funds abroad to invest in its own shares using a Mauritius-based platform. SEBI approached OCCRP after the report’s release and requested vital documents from its investigation, sources told the business daily.
However, OCCRP has declined to provide these documents to SEBI. OCCRP, an investigative journalism group, operates with support from entities such as the US Department of State, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Ford Foundation and George Soros.
In response to SEBI’s request, OCCRP stated that its long-standing policy is not to share documents beyond what it publishes itself. OCCRP also noted that advocate Prashant Bhushan most likely had access to some of the documents they used, which he attached to a filing in the Indian Supreme Court related to the Adani case.
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OCCRP said the ongoing investigation into the Adani Group was a two-year effort by a network of reporters from various locations. Information was sourced from multiple places, including tax havens, bank records, and internal Adani emails. OCCRP maintains that all these sources are accessible to SEBI through official channels.
Why It Matters: The Adani Group has consistently denied the allegations and claimed to be a victim of an orchestrated smear campaign by international organizations and short-sellers, highlighting the fact that showcause notices for allegedly overvalued power equipment imports, issued by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) – a major sticking point for OCCRP – were quashed by the courts.
Several foreign jurisdictions have reportedly informed SEBI that they cannot share information, prompting the regulator to seek help from OCCRP, which has access to relevant data.
These allegations followed a January report by US-based short-seller Hindenburg Research, which accused the conglomerate of accounting malpractices, corporate governance lapses, and stock price manipulation, leading to a decline in the group’s shares. Most Adani companies have since recovered some of their losses.
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