New Delhi [India], February 8 (ANI): Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his alleged silence on the Hindenburg-Adani row, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Wednesday posed fresh questions to the PM on the 'MahaMegaScam'.
The Congress MP raised the fresh questions during the party's ongoing nationwide 'Hum Adani Ke Hain Kaun' campaign.
Ramesh demanded that the Centre come clean on how the Adani Group emerged as the largest airport operator in India in a short span of time.
He claimed the Adani group won six out of six airport concessions that the government awarded in 2019, and took control of Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, the second biggest airport in the country, under questionable circumstances in 2021.
"On December 10, 2018, a NITI Aayog memo argued that "a bidder lacking sufficient technical capacity" could "jeopardise the project and compromise the quality of services the government is committed to providing." It pointed out that the model Request for Quotes (RFQ) document already gave points for project experience outside the airport's sector, but that experience in the airport sector was important. A government official quoted in an earlier news report (dated 22 April 2018) stated that the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) had 'directed' the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) in the Ministry of Finance and the NITI Aayog to prepare model concession agreements for airport privatisations," Ramesh tweeted on Wednesday.
"Why did the PMO and the NITI Aayog chairman who headed the Empowered Group of Secretaries ignore this recommendation and facilitate a clean sweep of six airports by the inexperienced Adani Group?" he questioned.
The Congress leader said on the same day the NITI Aayog filed its objection, a note from the DEA had strongly recommended that no more than two airports be awarded to a single bidder to reduce risk and to facilitate competition.
"Yet this too was ignored by the ruling dispensation in its rush to help its cronies. Who instructed the Empowered Group of Secretaries to set aside this prior condition, thus clearing the way for the Adani Group to build a virtual monopoly in the sector?" he tweeted further.
He claimed that the Adani Group's takeover of Mumbai airport was a case study in 'crony capitalism'.
A January 24 report by Hindenburg Research alleged that the Adani Group had weak business fundamentals, and was involved in stock manipulation and accounting fraud, among others. The report triggered a sell-off of shares of Adani Group companies. (ANI)