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Adani Group contractor probed earlier by Indian govt emerges as a new company: Report
Photo courtesy: UNI

Adani Group contractor probed earlier by Indian govt emerges as a new company: Report

| @indiablooms | 12 Dec 2023, 10:14 pm

New Delhi: The Adani Group has been maintaining its relationship with a contentious contracting firm controlled by a Taiwanese family, Bloomberg reported.

Regulatory filings that were not reported earlier reveal the details of how this relationship has developed amid a government inquiry and auditor scrutiny, it added.

The contracting firm in question, Howe Engineering Projects (India) Pvt Ltd., includes the core operations of PMC Projects Pvt Ltd., a business that the Indian government accused in 2014 of being used by billionaire Gautam Adani's empire to funnel funds overseas.

Adani vehemently denied any wrongdoing, and the investigation's findings were dismissed in 2017 by an adjudicating body.

In April 2016, the engineering business of PMC was integrated into Howe, as indicated by court documents.

Recent filings analysed by Bloomberg reveal that Howe has continued to serve as a contractor for Adani, contributing to major port and railway projects currently in development in India.

Deloitte's inability to definitively classify Howe as a related party prompted the auditor to reveal concerns about payments from Adani's ports company to the contracting firm in May.

Subsequently, the accounting giant resigned as the auditor for Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone Ltd. in August, citing insufficient oversight over the broader conglomerate's accounts.

The ongoing involvement of Howe brings to attention the challenges faced by shareholders in understanding the financial flows through Adani companies, continuing nearly a year after fraud allegations by short seller Hindenburg Research.

The Bloomberg report stated that Hindenburg targeted PMC, alleging it was an Adani-related party “used to suck money out of the Adani Group’s publicly listed entities.” Its report didn’t mention Howe.

In an email, a spokesperson of the Adani conglomerate stated that Howe and PMC are separate and independently operated entities, are not considered related parties to Adani, and assured that all transactions adhere to legal compliance.

“The commercial and business transactions undertaken by the Adani entities for project management services were entered into in the ordinary course of business at arm’s length basis,” the statement said.

The stock market regulator is currently investigating the allegations made by Hindenburg Research against Adani.

Although the regulator has not disclosed its findings yet, it has stated that its inquiry will encompass various aspects, including the examination of potential related party transactions.

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