Decision to lend $1 billion to Adani Group irks Cong

Congress today questioned the decision of State Bank of India (SBI) to give USD one billion loan to Adani Group for the development of Carmichael coal mine during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s just concluded visit to Australia.

Talking to reporters in New Delhi, party spokesperson Ajay Maken alleged that the government is giving undue favour to the group and promoting crony capitalism. He said that six international banks including CitiBank and HSBC had denied the group to give any financial assistance for its mines project but SBI agreed to do so. Maken said the Bank is also not showing the Memorandum of Understanding signed in this regard.

Responding to the allegations, the Government today rejected Congress’ charges of giving undue favour to Adani Group in financing one billion dollar loan by State Bank of India. Talking to reporters after the cabinet meeting in New Delhi, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that it is up to the bank to take a decision on loan and government has nothing to do with it. He said that Congress has made a baseless allegation as no loan has been given to the company and only a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed in this regard.

Defending State Bank of India’s decision, SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya defended the decision of lending 1 billion dollars to Adani Group. Talking to reporters in New Delhi today, Mrs. Bhattacharya said that SBI has signed an MOU with the Adani group and after all due diligence, the SBI board will take the final call on it. On the issue of environment clearances, she said that SBI has spoken with the Queensland government and if green peace organisation will protest anywhere its not a matter of SBI’s concern.

SBI had decided to lend up to one billion dollars to Adani Mining, the Australian subsidiary of Adani Enterprises for the Carmichael mine in Queensland in Australia. Carmichael mine has massive blocks of untapped coal reserves and Adani group aims to build the project by end of 2017.

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