United States expands probe into Adani Group

India's Adani Group, Adani Group, Gautam Adani, Azure Power Global

In a significant turn of events, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York has announced an expanded investigation into India’s Adani Group, delving into potential bribery allegations surrounding an energy project in India. This sweeping probe, spearheaded by US prosecutors, has broadened to include scrutiny of the Indian renewable energy company Azure Power Global. Despite the absence of formal charges against Gautam Adani, the conglomerate’s founder, or his company, the investigation has thrust questions of potential impropriety into the spotlight, raising concerns both domestically and internationally.

Central to the inquiry is the examination of whether Adani entities or individuals associated with the conglomerate sought to influence officials in India through illicit means to secure preferential treatment for an energy project. Collaborating closely with the Eastern District of New York, the US Justice Department’s fraud unit in Washington is meticulously scrutinizing various aspects of Adani Group’s operations and its interactions within the Indian business landscape. Despite the gravity of the allegations, neither Gautam Adani nor Adani Group, nor Azure Power, have been formally indicted for any wrongdoing by the US Justice Department thus far.

In response to the unfolding investigation, Adani Group has issued a staunch declaration of its unwavering commitment to the highest standards of governance and compliance with anti-corruption laws. Emphasizing a strict adherence to ethical business practices, the conglomerate has firmly stated its lack of awareness regarding any investigation targeting its chairman, Gautam Adani. Azure Power, meanwhile, has chosen to remain silent on the matter, opting not to comment on the ongoing legal proceedings. Equally reticent, the US Justice Department has refrained from providing any insights into the progress or findings of its investigation, maintaining a shroud of secrecy around the matter.

This latest scrutiny from US authorities marks not the first but a subsequent instance of Adani Group’s entanglement in international controversy. In January 2023, the conglomerate faced allegations from US short-seller Hindenburg Research, accusing it of governance malpractices, stock manipulation, and utilizing tax havens. While initially rattling market confidence, Adani Group vehemently refuted these claims, rebounding swiftly from the turmoil. A subsequent inquiry by an expert panel in May of the same year absolved India’s Securities and Exchange Board (SEBI) of any negligence, affirming Adani Group’s compliance with disclosure regulations and dismissing the Hindenburg Research report as baseless and unsubstantiated.

However, despite Adani Group’s resilience in the face of adversity, the specter of these allegations continues to loom large. In a ruling delivered in January 2024, the Supreme Court of India declined to entertain the use of the Hindenburg report as a basis for initiating a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe, entrusting SEBI with the authority to pursue its investigation within the legal framework. Gautam Adani has consistently denounced the allegations as baseless fabrications, asserting the conglomerate’s commitment to integrity and transparency in all its dealings. Despite the ongoing scrutiny, Adani Group’s financial performance has shown remarkable resilience, with flagship Adani Enterprises Ltd. witnessing robust gains over the past year, propelling Gautam Adani’s ascent as one of the world’s wealthiest individuals.

As the investigation by US authorities unfolds, stakeholders across the globe are closely monitoring developments, cognizant of the potential ramifications for both Adani Group and the broader business landscape in India and beyond. The outcome of this inquiry could have far-reaching implications, influencing investor sentiment, regulatory frameworks, and the trajectory of Adani Group’s operations in the renewable energy sector. Amidst the swirling allegations and legal proceedings, the conglomerate’s continued prominence in India’s economic milieu underscores its significance as a key player in the global business arena.


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