FPO pullout will have no impact on perception of India: Sitharaman on Adani row

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MUMBAI: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said that regulators independent of the government will do their jobs and that a pullout of FPO pullout will not have any impact on the perception of India.

“Regulators are independent of the government and they are left to themselves to do what is appropriate so the market is well regulated,” the Finance Minister said while addressing a post-Budget 2023-24 conference in Mumbai on Saturday.

“This is not the first time that some FPO (follow-on public offering) is taken back. How many times that has affected the image of the country?”

On Wednesday, Adani Enterprises decided not to go-ahead with its fully subscribed Follow-on Public Offer (FPO), with the Group chairman Gautam Adani stating on Thursday that it would not be “morally correct” to go ahead with the Rs 20,000-crore share in the current market condition.

A report by the New York-based short seller had on January 24, accused Adani Group of brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud among others.

The US-based firm, in its report, raised concerns about shares of Adani group companies having a possibility of declining from their current levels, owing to high valuations. In response, Adani Group said Hindenburg’s report was not an attack on any specific company but a “calculated attack” on India, its growth story, and ambitions. It added the report was “nothing but a lie”.

In its rebuttal Hinderburg Adani has “stoked a nationalist narrative” that seeks to conflate the “meteoric rise and the wealth of its chairman, Gautam Adani, with the success of India itself.”

In today’s press conference in Mumbai addressing a query about Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC)’s exposure to the Adani Group, the Union minister said, “LIC have themselves come on the issue about their exposure to the Company (Adani).”

The Finance Minister said the government wants to sustain the recovery which had kept India at a good level of growth.

“We want to sustain the recovery which had kept India at a good level of growth, which no country – except for one because it’s fuel rich – has managed to reach,” she said.

Sitharaman added, “…and the credit goes to the people of India to somehow absorbing all the little help the government has come up with, either in the form of relief or a policy between 2022 and today.” She added that this recovery momentum should not be lost.

The minister added, “It was an expressed desire of the Prime Minister that capital expenditure should be kept up and that is why it has reached Rs 10 lakh crore.”

On the purpose of her visit to the financial capital, the Union finance minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had highlighted that it would serve well if the finance ministry goes all over the country and explain what is the idea behind the Budget.

“For the past three to four years we have started a process that we go to places post-budget and discuss the budget with stakeholders. Take their suggestions etc and include those suggestions into the amendments of the Budget. This was the first such outreach in Mumbai after this Budget,” the finance minister said. (ANI)

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