Adani fiasco: Watchdog alertness is under watch1 min read . Updated: 06 Feb 2023, 01:08 AM IST
Global suspicions that the Adani rout caught Indian regulators either dozing or looking away may prove costly for our economy. Needed: a proper probe of Hindenburg’s allegations
If the mercurial rise of Adani Group stocks and its promoter in recent years had held observers spellbound, their crash has been even more stunning. Gautam Adani’s businesses have lost more than $100 billion in market value since a 24 January report by US-based short-seller Hindenburg called it “the largest con in corporate history", alleging financial fraud and stock puppetry done by swirling money around in patterns that the group’s rebuttals failed to lift suspicions over. As the scandal rippled across the financial system, with a domestic public offer scrapped by Adani and its debt notched down globally, India’s finance ministry had to calm fears over the exposure of state institutions (a reference mainly to our top insurer and lender) to the besieged group, even as the Reserve Bank put out data on the size of its bank loans to reassure aghast citizens of systemic stability. After stock exchanges put three Adani stocks on volatility watch as required by the rules, pushing margin money on their trades to the hilt, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) issued a public reminder of its commitment to market integrity. To observers with a Sherlock bent, however, that avowal does not put to rest the curious case of a watchdog awakened late.