MUMBAI (AFP) – Beleaguered Indian tycoon Gautam Adani denied yesterday that his rise to become Asia’s richest man – a title he has lost in a phenomenal stock rout – was due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as shares in his conglomerate slumped again.
His listed units’ combined market capitalisation has collapsed by more than USD100 billion since United States (US) short-seller Hindenburg Research – which makes money by betting on shares falling – released an explosive report last week.
It accused Adani of accounting fraud and artificially boosted its share prices, calling it a “brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme” and “the largest con in corporate history”.
Critics say Adani’s close relationship with Modi, who is also from Gujarat state, has helped him win business and avoid proper oversight.
“These allegations are baseless,” Adani told India Today television yesterday, adding that their shared origins made him an “easy target” for such claims.
“The fact of the matter is that my professional success is not because of any individual leader,” he insisted.
His comments came as shares in his flagship firm Adani Enterprises were repeatedly suspended on the Bombay Stock Exchange, hitting multiple trading stops on the way to falling by 25 per cent.