After 'three wise monkeys' tweet on Adani row, Mahua Moitra's fresh jab at govt

Mar 27, 2023 03:06 PM IST

Adani-Hindenburg row: Controversy over the US-based short seller's report has expanded to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's disqualification from the Lok Sabha.

Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra followed her Monday morning jab at the government – over the Adani-Hindenburg row - with a screenshot of a corporate affairs ministry statement (from July 2021) that said the government had identified over 2.38 lakh shell companies between 2018 and 2021.

Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra (File)
Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra (File)

The jab was in reference to an earlier tweet that flagged a finance ministry note shared in the Rajya Sabha that said data regarding offshore shell companies owned by Indian citizens is 'unavailable'.

"Government identified 2,38,223 shell companies without any specific definition in law. Blinkers on only when it comes to Adani Group family shells in Mauritius!" she tweeted with the screenshot.

This morning Mahua Moitra shared a reply by the finance ministry to a question by MP Dr John Brittas - who had asked for 'details of offshore shell companies whose Ultimate Beneficial Ownership (UBO) are held by Indian citizens'.

The government responded: "… is submitted that an offshore shell company is not defined in the Acts administered by the Ministry of Finance. Data/details regarding offshore shell companies owned by Indian citizens is not available."

READ | Mahua Moitra on Gautam Adani: 'How can govt take action…'

"How can the government take action against Adani? Finance Ministry does not know definition of shell firm! Written answer in RS says no clue… hence no action," she had tweeted, also sharing a photo of the proverbial 'three wise monkeys' and tagging finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The opposition in India has banded together in its criticism of prime minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party over the Adani-Hindenburg row and the controversial disqualification of the Congress' Rahul Gandhi from the Lok Sabha after his conviction in the 'Modi surname' case.

This morning 17 opposition parties met in Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge's Parliament chambers to chalk out a plan of attack; the BJP also held a meet.

READ | Cong' 'black shirt' protest for Rahul Gandhi sees surprise visit by TMC

The presence of 2 MPs from the Trinamool, representation by Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao's Bharat Rashtra Samithi and the participation of ex Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party was notable.

Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool has kept its distance from the Congress in recent months as it looks to mount a non-Congress challenge to the BJP in 2024; Akhilesh Yadav and she last week agreed to stay away from both sides.

READ | Mamata, Akhilesh to maintain 'equal distance' from BJP, Congress

In January a Hindenburg Research report accused Gautam Adani's Adani Group of 'accounting fraud' and using offshore shell companies to inflate stock prices.

That triggered a rout of Adani Group stocks and the Gautam Adani's personal fortune - to the tune of $120 billion+ and $28 million .

It also led to a row between the BJP and the opposition, which has seen protests nationwide and repeated stalling of Parliament's reconvened Budget session.

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