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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Goldman stands by Modi report as minister fumes

Agencies  New Delhi, November 08, 2013
First Published: 11:32 IST(8/11/2013) | Last Updated: 02:20 IST(9/11/2013)

Commerce minister Anand Sharma accused global investment bank Goldman Sachs of interfering in the country's domestic politics after it raised market ratings citing "optimism over political change".

In an interview to The Economic Times, Sharma accused Goldman Sachs of "messing around with India's domestic politics." Sharma said that banks like Goldman Sachs should remain focused only on doing what they claim to specialise in.

Sharma said Goldman's latest report where it suggested the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could topple his ruling Congress party in 2014 polls "made Goldman's credibility and motives highly suspect".

Sharma said Indians alone would "decide the future of Indian politics" and "will not be influenced by the motivated campaign by agencies like Goldman, which have, in any case, left behind a graveyard of their failed predictions".

Reacting to the criticism over upgrading the Indian equities, Goldman said it stood by its report based on investor sentiments and that it did not have any political bias.

Earlier in the week, the global bank in a report titled "Modi-flying our view", hiked its rating for Indian markets to "market weight" from "underweight".

The Goldman Sachs' note did not endorse the BJP but cited "optimism over political change, led by the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Mr Modi."

Stressing that the report would have no impact on the general elections due early next year, Sharma said, "People have wisdom and maturity. These reports could also be coloured, influenced and these are most inappropriate and objectionable."

"We don't need these kinds of daily certification or assurances. We are a self confident nation... what I feel is that any agency (or) organisation should be focused on their job particularly when it comes to functional democracies...we surely would not be entertaining prescriptive approaches or prescriptions from those who are totally disconnected," the minister added.

In a statement issued after uproar over its report, the bank said, "Our Asia Pacific Portfolio Strategy report... contains no political bias or any political opinion by Goldman Sachs or its analysts. It simply notes that investor sentiment is being influenced by party politics. We stand by that assertion and by our research."

More on LiveMint: Goldman Sachs analyst: Not expressing any preference for India elections

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