The world’s third-richest man, Gautam Adani, has told India TV in an exclusive interview that criticism of his fortune being fuelled by his close links to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stands disproved because he works with a slew of opposition-ruled states. “We want to make maximum investments in every state… Adani group is really happy that today it is working in 22 states, and all these states are not BJP-ruled… I can say that we do not have any problem with any state government. We are working even in Left-ruled Kerala, in Mamata didi’s West Bengal, in Naveen Patnaik ji’s Odisha, in Jaganmohan Reddy’s state, even KCR’s state.”
Mr Adani appeared on Aap Ki Adalat, hosted by Rajat Sharma. The 60-year-old said, “I want to tell you that you can never get any personal help from Modi ji. You can speak to him about policies in the national interest, but when a policy is framed, it is for all, not only for the Adani group,” he added.
Mr Adani also said that there is a misperception about his multi-billion-dollar group being heavily leveraged, leaving banks and the savings of ordinary people vulnerable. “In the last seven-eight years, our income has gone up by 24 per cent, while our loans have increased by 11 per cent,” he said, adding, “Our assets are four times our borrowings.”
Mr Adani explained in the 90-minute show that he believes that opposition leader Rahul Gandhi’s repeated allegations of crony capitalism against him are “part of the business of politics”. He cited the example of Rajasthan, which is governed by Mr Gandhi’s Congress party.
“Investment is our normal programme. I had gone to the Rajasthan investors’ summit at the invitation of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. Later, even Rahul (Gandhi) ji praised our investment in Rajasthan. I know Rahul’s policies are not anti-development,” he added, referring to his Rs 68,000 crore investment in the desert state.
Mr Adani said critics who say his relationship with PM Modi has yielded a windfall overlook the fact that his success began when the Congress was in charge of the country.
“I got three big breaks in my life. First, in 1985 during Rajiv Gandhi’s rule, when Exim policy allowed our company to become a global trading house. Second, in 1991, when PV Narasimha Rao and Dr Manmohan Singh opened up the economy, and we entered into public-private partnership mode,” he said.
“And third, during Narendra Modi’s 12-year-long rule in Gujarat… I can say with pride that it was a very good experience.” He said he wanted to stress that “Gujarat is investor-friendly, not Adani-friendly.”
In the last year, Mr Adani’s wealth has grown more than that of any other billionaire. His group is worth $200 billion and includes green energy, ports, mines, airports, and huge infrastructure projects. Mr Adani said his company has never landed a deal without bidding for it and therefore, there is no question of it getting special treatment.
“We did not get a single project without bidding. Our Adani group has this philosophy of not touching any project without bidding, whether it is a port, an airport, roads or a power house. There is not a single allegation that we ‘managed’ bidding. Even Rahul Ji has not levelled any allegation about tampering with the bidding process,” he said.
When asked to disclose his formula for success, Mr Adani kept it simple: “mehnat, mehnat, mehnat(hard work, hard work, hard work).”
(Disclaimer: New Delhi Television is a subsidiary of AMG Media Networks Limited, an Adani Group Company.)