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The Adani Affair: Uncovering the Lack of Transparency and Accountability within the Adani Group

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Gautam Adani, the Indian billionaire at the center of the Adani Group conglomerate, has recently been the target of damning allegations.[0] On January 24, US activist short seller Hindenburg Research published a report accusing Adani of orchestrating “the largest con in corporate history” by manipulating share prices and accounting records.[1] Within a week, the market value of Adani-related companies had fallen by more than $90 billion. Adani responded with a 400-page rebuttal, but investors were not convinced.[2]

Adani’s net worth had grown rapidly in recent years. In 2014, Forbes estimated his net worth at $6.4 billion, but this had grown to nearly $15 billion by 2019 and $124 billion in 2022.[3] His rapid rise to wealth had been attributed to his close ties with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as well as his alleged ability to bend and co-opt India’s state institutions.

The allegations against Adani and the subsequent stock market meltdown have had a profound impact on the Adani Group. Since Hindenburg released its report, the market value of publicly traded Adani companies has fallen by about half, from $218 billion to $108 billion.

The Adani affair has exposed a lack of transparency and accountability within the Adani Group.[3] The Hindenburg report revealed that most listed companies within the group are overleveraged and overvalued, and that the ratio of price to earnings is more than 800 times the industry average.[3] As of now, it is unclear who is right or wrong in the Adani affair, but it is clear that this case has far-reaching implications for both the Adani Group and Narendra Modi’s India.

0. “The Short Seller Costing the Adani Group Billions” Reply All | Gimlet, 5 Feb. 2023, https://gimletmedia.com/shows/the-journal/94hwbo6v

1. “How Hindenburg Research Costs India’s Adani Group Empire $100 Billion” Bloomberg, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-02-09/adani-share-price-collapse-will-reverberate-in-india

2. “Gautam Adani will be playing defense for a while after mauling by short seller” CNN, 10 Feb. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/10/business/india-adani-hindenburg-report-impact-intl-hnk/index.html

3. “D Raja writes on Adani-Hindenburg: It is time to fix accountability” The Indian Express, 11 Feb. 2023, https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/d-raja-writes-on-adani-hindenburg-time-to-fix-accountability-8439095/

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