Subramanian Swamy is at it again.
This time around, Indian politics enfant terrible has trained his guns on industrialist Gautam Adani, perceived by many Modi baiters as being close to the PM.
"The biggest NPA (Non-Performing Assets) trapeze artiste in PSUs (Public Sector Banks is probably what he meant) is Gautam Adani. It is time he is made accountable or a PIL is inevitable," Swamy tweeted on early Tuesday morning.
Adani runs India's largest private port the Mundra Port and has interests in Power Generation, Transmission, coal trading, mining, oil and gas among other areas.
According to the Harun Global Rich List 2018 published a few days ago, the 55-year-old business tycoon's wealth doubled in the last one year to US $ 14 billion (over Rs 91000 crore).
It is another chapter in the meteoric rise of Ahmedabad's richest man, whose wealth stood at US $ 1.9 billion, when Narendra Modi was named the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Prime Ministerial candidate in September 2013.
Adani's stock more than tripled in value by the time Modi became the Prime Minister in 2014 when Adani was valued at $6 million.
The last three years had seen Adani add only $ 1 billion in value to that fortune, but 2017-2018 has, if we are to go by the Harun Rich List, fuelled another surge.
Swamy though refuses to be impressed by all this and says he has information that makes him believe that almost US $ 12 billion (Rs 72000 crore) of Adani's fortune needs to go towards paying NPAs of PSBs.
The 78-year-old Harvard-educated economist and ex-Union Minister told ANI, ""I tweeted that he (Gautam Adani) seems to be like a trapeze artiste. Information came to me that he may be having as much as Rs 72000 crore in NPA. This will be clear only after investigation.That's why I raised this question. As far as corruption is considered, party has no role."
IANS cited Bloomberg data to peg the Adani Group's total debt at Rs 99181.09 crore split in this manner: Adani Power - Rs 47609.43 crore; Adani Transmission - Rs 8356.07 crore; Adani Enterprises - Rs 22424.44 crore and Adani Ports Rs 20791.15 crore.
Adani Group in a statement, though, admitted to only Rs 34000 crore in long-term borrowings, which it claimed was being "regularly serviced".
"The singular critical test for debt is its regular servicing - something which the Adani Group has implemented diligently, since its inception," the company said in an official statement.
"Adani Group has created world class assets and aggregate net asset block of Indian operations stands at over Rs 110000 crore. Aggregate net worth of the listed entities stands at over Rs 40000 crore and aggregate EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) stands at Rs 24000 crore," the statement underlined.
Meanwhile, an interesting story on the Adani coal mine project in Australia: