New Delhi, April 28: Terming the allegations against him as a “political issue”, Gautam Adani, chief of the Adani Group, has denied being given land at Re.1 per square metre in Gujarat by chief minister and BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Adani, in an interview to CNN-IBN, said he was given land at Mundhra – where he has set up a port – by earlier Congress governments at cheap rates and his company has been in Gujarat before Modi became chief minister.
Asked if his company’s growth was due to his proximity to Modi, Adani said: “Infrastructure projects got encouragement since 1991 … Modi’s government came, they gave even more encouragement … In fact, all infrastructure companies grew more at that time.”
On Adani shares skyrocketing because of the perception that Modi is tipped to be prime minister, the businessman said both the Modi government in the state and the UPA government at the Centre have been encouraging business.
“But in the last five years, policy paralysis has slowed business. So people think this will not happen if Modi comes to power … so our shares are going up because of (the prevailing) sentiments,” he said, according to a press statement by CNN-IBN.
He denied getting any special favours from Modi, saying: “Not at all … and even we don’t have any such expectation.”
Adani also denied giving a private plane to Modi for his election campaign.
“We have an aviation department which gives planes on hire to whoever needs it. Our planes can be hired by any political party on payment, they pay the money and take it. We don’t give it free to Modi,” he said.
He also denied funding or promoting the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“I am not a political person, we don’t indulge in any such thing.”
He further denied that his company has given funds to any political party so far.
Asked about Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi‘s allegation that Modi gave land to him at Re.1, or at the price of a toffee, Adani said the development of Mundhra port began when the Congress was in power under Chimanbhai Patel, whose government gave him land at 10 paise.
The Keshubhai Patel government gave it for Re.1, w,hile Modi gave it for Rs.15 per square metre, he said.
He said the land acquired was waste land and not agricultural land, and he has also acquired land in Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
On the continued attack on him by Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Adani said: “We got the land 12 years back … Why did this not come up in the last 12 years … so I understand it is a political issue.”
“We have not taken any favour nor had any intention of any favour.”
Asked who he thought would be a better prime minister, Modi or Manmohan Singh, he answered diplomatically.
“(Manmohan) Singh has also done good work, UPA-I has worked well … In the last 2-3 years, a lot of things have been stalled because of indecisiveness. But, like here, we have seen Modi’s government that he will not allow such things. Modi will run his government in his own way.”