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Indian billionaire Gautam Adani says ‘truth has prevailed’ after top court orders regulators to wrap up probe – CNN News

By Diksha Madhok, CNN

The Adani Group headquarters in Ahmedabad, India pictured on July 15, 2023

New Delhi (CNN) – India’s top court ordered the country’s market regulator on Wednesday to conclude its investigation into the Adani Group quickly and said that no further probes are needed.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had completed 22 of 24 investigations into the Adani Group, the Supreme Court said in a ruling posted to its website. It added that the regulator “cannot keep the investigation open-ended and indeterminate in time.”

“Hence, SEBI shall complete the pending investigations preferably within three months,” the judgment said.

The ruling, which comes almost one year after the US short-seller Hindenburg Research accused the sprawling Indian conglomerate of “brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme,” was welcomed by Gautam Adani, one of Asia’s richest businessmen.

The billionaire tycoon reacted to the decision by writing “truth has prevailed,” on X, formerly Twitter. “I am grateful to those who stood by us,” he wrote, adding that “our humble contribution to India’s growth story will continue.”

Following the ruling, shares in all 10 Adani Group companies rose in Mumbai, with some trading as much as 10% higher.

The scrutiny into Adani—who in September 2022 was worth more than Jeff Bezos and the second-richest person on the planet behind only Elon Musk — started after Hindenburg accused him of pulling off “the largest con in corporate history.”

The ports-to-power conglomerate at one point lost over $100 billion in value in the stock market meltdown that followed the scathing January 2023 report by Hindenburg. Short-sellers make money by betting that a company’s stock will fall.

In its investigation, which Hindenburg said took two years to compile, the research firm questioned the “sky-high valuations” of Adani firms and said their “substantial debt” puts the entire group “on a precarious financial footing.”

The research firm concluded its report with 88 questions for the Adani Group. These ranged from asking for details on Adani’s offshore entities, to why it has “such a convoluted, interlinked corporate structure.”

Adani’s personal fortune was hammered by the fallout from the report. He now ranks 15th on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. But he has fought back.

The Adani Group published a 400-page rebuttal, calling the Hindenburg analysis “nothing but a lie,” charging that Hindenburg’s shorting of overseas-traded bonds and derivatives amounted to securities fraud, and denouncing it as an attack on India.

Hindenberg stood by the report. While shares in some of Adani’s businesses, including Adani Ports, have touched record highs recently, others are yet to fully recover the losses they suffered last year.

Currently worth nearly $86 billion, Adani is Asia’s second richest man behind fellow countryman Mukesh Ambani, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. He is also seen as a close ally of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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