Ministry of Corporate Affairs Launches Probe into Adani Group's Two Airports in Mumbai – The Wire

In a statement, the conglomerate said probe authorities sought information relating to finances and other documents of Mumbai International Airport Ltd and Navi Mumbai International Airport Ltd from 2017-18 to 2021-22.
Mumbai International Airport. The Adani Group acquired the airport last year, in 2022. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/arunpnair_787/CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED
New Delhi: The Adani Group on Friday, October 13, informed stock exchanges that the Ministry of Corporate Affairs is carrying out a probe into its two Mumbai airports.
In a statement, the Adani Group said probe authorities sought information relating to finances and other documents of Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) and Navi Mumbai International Airport Ltd (NMIAL) for the period between financial years 2017-18 and 2021-22. The acquisition of the airports by the group was completed in the 2021-22 financial year.
“MIAL and NMIAL have received communications from the said Authority about the initiation of investigations of books of accounts and other books and papers in terms section 210(1) of the Companies Act, 2013,” Adani Enterprises said on BSE filing, according to Mint.
In July 2021, the group acquired a 74% stake in Mumbai’s international airport, after buying GVK Group’s 50.5% stake and a 23.5% stake from ACSA Global Ltd and Bid Services Division (Mauritius) Ltd (Bidvest). It also secured rights to build and operate the Navi Mumbai airport, where operations will commence from December 2024.
Across the country, the group owns and operates seven airports. It won bids for six airports under the Airports Authority of India (AAI) in February 2019, including Lucknow, Mangaluru, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Guwahati, and Thiruvananthapuram. The group will be responsible for operating, managing, and developing airports for over 50 years.
The probe underway is the latest in a series of troubles the conglomerate has been through since a US short seller earlier this year accused it of improperly using offshore tax havens and stock manipulation. In response, the group said, it will respond to communication received from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs in “accordance with applicable legal provisions”.
A different probe into suspected violations in overseas investments in the Adani Group by the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) regulator has “drawn a blank”, a court-appointed panel said in May this year, according to Reuters.
Responding to reports of the corporate affairs ministry’s probe, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said on X (formerly Twitter) the Adani group was awarded six airports in 2019 despite objections from NITI Aayog (the Union government’s apex public policy think tank) and the Department of Economic Affairs.
According to the Indian Express, the economic affairs department had said during discussions regarding the airports’ privatisation process that “these six airports projects are highly capital-intensive projects, hence it is suggested to incorporate the clause that not more than two airports will be awarded to the same bidder duly factoring the high financial risk and performance issues.”
It added that “awarding them to different companies would also facilitate yardstick competition.”
NITI Aayog raised a separate concern that “a bidder lacking sufficient technical capacity can well jeopardise the project and compromise the quality of services that the government is committed to provide,” the Indian Express reported.
Ramesh also asked when the ministry would probe “how the ED and CBI raided the previous owners of Mumbai airport [the GVK group] when they were unwilling to sell to the Adani group”.
As Adani group’s skeletons tumble out of the closet on a daily basis, the government is desperately trying to save face by switching to a PR mode to show that it is taking action against PM Modi’s favourite business group.
When will the government…
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) October 14, 2023

On July 2, 2019, the CBI conducted searches at GVK’s offices in Mumbai and Hyderabad. On July 7, the ED filed a money laundering case. On July 28, its officials raided GVK’s offices as well and said it would charge its promoters with money laundering.
In January this year, the CBI informed a special court in Mumbai in January 2023 that no government official was found to be involved in the corruption case registered against the GVK Group and that it was no longer pressing charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
In July, a special CBI court set aside the summoning order issued by a trial court against all 58 persons accused of cheating, including G.V.K. Reddy and Sanjay Reddy.
As for the ED’s charges, the agency has maintained radio silence on the matter since the end of July 2020 and there has been no development in the public domain since then.
“This sham investigation will end up where previous Modi-era probes into the Adani group have gone — nowhere!” Ramesh said in his X post.


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