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Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra has pressed finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman for answers over state-run Life Insurance Corporation’s exposure to the embattled Adani Group, flagging a news report that said the value of its holding in Adani companies had – for the first time – dropped below the purchase price by nearly 11 per cent to settle at less than ₹27,000 crore.

Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra at Parliament (PTI) Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra at Parliament (PTI) ” ₹3,200 crore loss in Adani shares for LIC India so far, Nirmala Sitharaman… what pressure is there to support Adani at cost of Indian public? We need answers,” she tweeted Friday morning.

READ | Embattled Adani invests $442 million in cash-strapped Sri Lanka

The attached screenshot showed a news report that said ‘the market value of state-owned Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) shareholding in Adani Group’s five big companies has, for the first time, dipped below its purchase value’. The report identified the five companies in question as Adani Enterprise, Total Adani Gas, Adani Green Energy, Adani Transmission, and Adani Ports.

Gautam Adani’s conglomerate has come under fierce scrutiny since United States-based short-seller Hindenburg Research’s report alleging ‘brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud’.

The fallout of that report has been a massive political storm in India and the Adani Group losing billions; this week the combined equity market value of its 10 companies slipped below $100 billion, and Adani has dropped precipitously down the list of richest individuals in the world – from No 2 to No 29.

READ | Adani Group’s market value slips under $100 billion: Report

The Adani Group has denied any wrongdoing and has hired legal and communications firms, as well as repaying some of its vast debts, in a bid to reassure spooked investors and markets.

READ | Adani may repay over $600 million in short-term debts: Report

The Adani row has been the focus of much of the opposition’s attacks on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party over the past weeks, with Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and Mahua Moitra leading the charge.

Parts of Gandhi’s Parliament speech were expunged after he claimed links between the BJP that is in power at the centre and Adani, who is from prime minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat.

READ | ‘Can’t erase democracy’s voice’: Rahul on expunging of remarks

The opposition has demanded a joint parliamentary probe into its claims that both the LIC and the State Bank of India are overexposed to the Adani Group. The matter has reached the Supreme Court, which has asked the government to set up a panel to review and strengthen regulatory mechanism.

Earlier this month both Nirmala Sitharaman and the Reserve Bank chief Shaktikanta Das allayed concerns over the impact of the Adani crisis on the Indian economy. Das called the banking sector ‘resilient (and) strong’ and Sitharaman said any exposure was ‘very well within the permitted limits’.

READ | Amid Adani-Hindenburg row, RBI chief calls Indian banking system…

Meanwhile, earlier on Friday the Supreme Court rejected a request to stop the media from reporting on the Adani-Hindenburg controversy till it delivers its verdict. “We are not going to ever give any injunction against media…” chief justice DY Chandrachud said. This was after the court rejected the government’s bid to submit recommendations for the expert panel in a sealed cover.

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