George Soros says Narendra Modi must answer for Adani row

Photo: Lisi Niesner (Reuters)

Photo: Lisi Niesner (Reuters)

US billionaire investor George Soros this week publicly criticized Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his ties to the troubled Adani Group, and also went after the leader’s Democratic credentials.

The Hungarian-American philanthropist said he believes Modi will have to answer questions regarding the Adani group as their fates are “intertwined”.

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“Adani is accused of stock manipulation and his stock collapsed like a house of cards. Modi is silent on the subject, but he will have to answer questions from foreign investors and in parliament, Soros said on February 16 at the Munich Security Conference.

“This will significantly weaken Modi’s stranglehold on India’s federal government and open the door to push for much-needed institutional reforms,” ​​he said. “I may be naive, but I expect a democratic revival in India.”

Soros, 92, was speaking in the context of allegations – made by US-based financial forensics firm Hindenburg Research – that Adani is involved in massive and “brazen stock manipulation” and “accounting fraud”. Adani has denied the allegations.

The company, led by Gautam Adani, has lost close to $120 billion in market value since the New York-based firm published its report on January 24. The crisis caused a stir in India and made many foreign observers and investors skeptical about the group’s financial situation. stability.

The Indian prime minister is a close associate of Gautam Adani and is accused of helping the tycoon secure his ascension over the past decades, during much of which Modi was chief minister of the western Indian state of Gujarat.

Soros also criticized Modi for his government’s human rights abuses.

“India is an interesting case. It is a democracy. But the leader, Narendra Modi, is no democrat. Inciting violence against Muslims was a major factor in his meteoric rise,” he said, referring to Modi’s tenure in Gujarat. A recent high-profile BBC documentary criticized the prime minister’s role in the violence that tore through the state in 2002.

Soros also spoke about Modi’s global ties.

“Modi maintains close relations with both open and closed societies. India is a member of the Quad (which also includes Australia, the US and Japan), but it buys a lot of Russian oil at a deep discount and makes a lot of money from it, Soros said.

The American billionaire has spoken out against the rise of nationalism in India in the past. Modi is the leader of the Hindu nationalist outfit known as the Bharatiya Janata Party.

“Democratically elected Narendra Modi is creating a Hindu nationalist state, imposing punitive measures on Kashmir, a semi-autonomous Muslim region, and threatening to strip millions of Muslims of their citizenship,” Soros said in January 2020 while pledging $1 billion “to combat the erosion of civil society” of “would-be and actual dictators.”

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