The Congress on Sunday intensified its attack on the BJP-led central government as a scathing report by US short seller Hindenburg Research negatively impacted shares of Adani Group and the lenders that have exposure to it. With state insurer LIC plowing more money into Gautam Adani’s flagship unit despite facing a notional loss of nearly ₹19,000 crore in two days, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said the government has changed the name of Life Insurance Corporation of India to ‘Loot Investment for Cronies’. (Also Read | LIC, SBI savings at risk amid Hindenburg vs Adani? Here’s what banks said)
LIC’s investment signaled its vote of confidence in Gautam Adani, Asia’s richest man, and his beleaguered group which is facing its toughest test yet after Hindenburg Research characterized its meteoric rise as “the largest con in corporate history.” With over 250 million policy holders across India, LIC is among India’s systemically most important institutions. It is an investor in five Adani companies, with stakes ranging from 1% to 9% that was worth a total of 722.68 billion rupees on January 24, according to Bloomberg.
On Saturday, the Congress questioned the “silence” of the Union finance minister and probe agencies after LIC and SBI “lost over ₹78,000 crore” in market capitalisation of their shares due to exposure in Adani Group.
“LIC is public money! Post Hindenburg Report, the value of LIC investment in Adani Group shares have fallen from ₹77,000 Crore to ₹53,000 crore — loss of ₹23,500 crore,” Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala said.
“Also, LIC shares have lost ₹22,442 Crore. Why is LIC still investing ₹300 crore in Adani Group,” Surjewala asked.
Leaders of the ruling BRS in Telangana said the market situation was extremely worrisome and the Centre needs to answer serious questions on the “large exposure” of LIC and SBI to Adani stocks. State municipal administration minister K T Rama Rao, son of Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, wondered who pushed country’s largest lender and the largest state insurer to such exposure to Adani Group stocks.
BRS MLC K Kavitha, daughter of Chandrasekhar Rao, said in a statement that the central government should answer all the questions in the wake of the “fall and fluctuations in the LIC and SBI and market on the whole.”