Adani-Hindenburg saga: 5 other scandals that shook India in recent history

These alleged scams have raised several questions on banking systems and stock market manipulation in the South Asian country

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Published: Sat 4 Feb 2023, 11:48 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Feb 2023, 3:00 PM

Earlier this week, the Adani Group came under the lens after the report by Hindenburg research was released, accusing the group of "a brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme".

The Hindenburg report caused the conglomerate to lose billions of rupees in value and is a cause of concern among investors.

This created a decline in the net worth of Gautam Adani, the chairperson of the Adani Group and previously, the third richest person on Earth, and raised several questions on banking and stock market manipulation in India.

Here are 5 other such scandals that came to light recently:

1. Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi – PNB scam case

Nirav Modi
Nirav Modi

In 2018, Nirav Modi, a luxury diamond jeweller, was accused of a Rs100 billion scam.

The businessman was accused of issuing fraudulent Letters of Undertaking from the Punjab National Bank. PNB, India’s second-biggest state-run bank, in 2018 alleged that a few rogue employees had issued fake bank guarantees over several years to help jewellery groups - controlled by Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi - raise funds in foreign credit.

Both have denied any wrongdoing. The main accused, Nirav Modi and his maternal uncle Mehul Choksi, fled the country before the scandal became public.

2. Vijay Mallya – Kingfisher fraud case

Vijay Mallya
Vijay Mallya

Once among India's topmost businessmen, Vijay Mallya made a fortune from his beverage brand - Kingfisher. He then expanded the brand to airlines and Formula 1 racing. Mallya fled to the UK in 2016, when a Debt Recovery tribunal was moved against him.

The 'king of good times' is wanted in India over a default of Rs90 billion that was loaned to Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) by several banks.

3. Chanda Kochhar – Videocon scam case

Photo: PTI
Photo: PTI

In 2019, the former chairperson and CEO of ICICI bank, Chanda Kochhar, was booked for allegedly fraudulently lending money to the Videocon group.

Kochhar was one of India's highest-profile business leaders before she was ousted as ICICI CEO following allegations that the bank, under her watch, sanctioned "high value" loans to Videocon in violation of its lending policies.

In return, Videocon's owner invested in NuPower Renewables, founded by Kochhar's husband Deepak, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) alleges. The agency arrested Videocon Chairman Venugopal Dhoot.

4. Harshad Mehta, Ketan Parekh – Stock market manipulation scam

Harshad Mehta, Ketan Parekh (Photos: AFP)
Harshad Mehta, Ketan Parekh (Photos: AFP)

Popularised by the show 'Scam 1992', the Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh case took the country by storm when it was brought to light in the year 1992.

The securities scam saw a diversion of bank funds worth Rs35 billion to a handful of stock brokers led by Mehta.

Together with Mehta, Parekh managed to funnel money from banks and pump it into the stock market, causing Sensex to surge over 4,500 points.

5. Kapil Wadhawan, Dheeraj Wadhawan – Dewan Housing Finance Limited scam case

Perhaps, the country's biggest-ever lending fraud, the Dewan Housing Finance Limited (DHFL) scam case saw 17 banks allegedly cheated out of around $4.4 billion.

Earlier, without naming the firm, the CBI said it believes the company and its executives "cheated a consortium of banks... to the tune of Rs346.15 billion" ($4.4 billion).

The so-called non-bank lender did so by "siphoning off" large business loans from banks into "shell companies and fictitious entities," the CBI said in a statement.

The CBI said separate audits found "multiple instances of diversion of funds by the accused for personal benefits and falsification of books of accounts to camouflage and conceal dubious transactions".

DHFL promoters, Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan, were also investigated in several other cases of alleged fraud involving billions of dollars, reports said.

(With inputs from agencies)


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