While speaking to India Today, senior lawyer Harish Salve said that no one is happy that Indian businessmen are making their presence felt in the world.
As Gautam Adani’s ports-to-energy conglomerate publicly battles a short seller’s accusation of stock manipulation and accounting fraud, the businessman’s former lawyer and ex-Solicitor General of India Harish Salve shed some light on the ongoing controversy and said that nobody is happy at the fact that India has come out of the shadow and is making its presence felt in the world.
While speaking to India Today, Harish Salve said that no one is happy that Indian businessmen are making their presence felt in the world.
“There was a time we were wooing British business people to invest in India. Now I see the British government wooing Indians to invest in the UK. This has been a quantum change in the dynamics of the world and this had to have its repercussions,” the senior lawyer said.
Salve also said that the accusation levelled against Gautam Adani is a wholesale assault on India and Indians, adding that most of Adani’s assets are regulated.
“You have predictable revenues because you have a regulator fixing your tariff.. you can’t make a lot of money; but at least you have almost guaranteed revenues because, even today, these infrastructure projects are like monopoly projects. The other investments are in hardcore Indian assets like manufacturing cement,” Harish Salve said.
“Most of their (Adani Group) companies are listed, all their records are in the public domain. To say that you have done some hidden research and all is all nonsense,” the former solicitor general said.
“What I find most remarkable is that in today’s India, banks do not lend unless they stress-test all proposals. One of the criticisms is that the growth we are seeing is all in the large industrial sector where the banks feel comfortable lending. The MSMEs are still floundering post pandemic because the banks are reluctant to lend where there is any element of risk. With all this in place, this kind of an attack is something which is part of the game,” Salve opined.
The veteran lawyer also claimed that today, there is no company – shell company or otherwise – which is not shown on a balance sheet.
“If a listed entity has subsidiaries overseas, they are all shown. If today, Adani controls, directly or indirectly, stock in a listed company, it has to be disclosed. So there is nothing which is hidden,” he said.
HARISH SALVE ON HINDENBURG RESEARCH
Furthermore, Salve also took a jibe at Hindenburg Research — a US-based firm that made a litany of allegations on Adani Group, including fraudulent transactions and share price manipulation. “Hindenburg says they are a shorting firm. This is the way some people like making their money, by coming up with such allegations,” he said.
Harish Salve also said that India lacks a legal framework to take on a company like Hindenburg. “Where India lacks is that in India we don’t have the legal framework to take on an Hindenburg. If we sue them for damages, Gautam Adani’s grandchildren will be fighting the case.
HARISH SALVE ON ADANI’S FPO WITHDRAWAL
The ace lawyer said that when you have an FPO coming is the best time to throw ink. “Till the time the market continues in this volatile condition, there is bound to be an erosion of confidence. It takes a lifetime to build a reputation and trust, and a moment to destroy it,” he said.
Salve also lauded Adani Group’s decision to call off the Rs 20,000-crore Follow-on Public Offer (FPO) and return the proceeds to investors.
“He has done a wonderful thing by withdrawing the FPO because the retail investor should not suffer. For the next few weeks, the shares will tank. They will try and control it, but the shares will tank. These allegations will be investigated and thrown out in time and confidence will be rebuilt. But in the meantime, Hindenburg gets away with it,” he said.
HARISH SALVE ON SEBI
Harish Salve suggested that Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) should call Gautam Adani and sit with him for 72 hours and say yes, there are areas of concern or no, this report is nonsense.
He also said that Sebi’s report should 100 per cent be made public. “Sebi should tell the investors, don’t panic, we will investigate and give a report. Sebi is meant to control markets and instill confidence in the investors,” Salve said.
Source: India Today