Social media in Sri Lanka is abuzz with plans for a “massive protest” against Indian industrialist Gautam Adani’s group over allegations that an energy project was awarded to the group after Prime Minister Narendra Modi pressured President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Posters calling for the protest ask people to gather “in front of Majestic City”, a location in Colombo, at 2 pm on June 16.
The controversy began after MMC Ferdinando, chairman of Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) who later quit, told a parliamentary panel that he was told by President Rajapaksa about PM Modi pressuring him to give the wind power project directly to the Adani group. President Rajapaksa strongly denied the claim. A day later, Mr Ferdinando retracted it.
But a letter exclusively accessed by NDTV suggests that the officer, while asking the Lankan Finance Ministry to fast-track approvals to the 500-megawatt renewable energy project in Mannar district, cited “directions by the (Lankan) Prime Minister” to recognise the Adani proposal as one from the Indian government to the Lanka government.
The Adani group has said it is “disappointed” by the controversy. “Our intent in investing in Sri Lanka is to address the needs of a valued neighbour. As a responsible corporate, we see this as a necessary part of the partnership that our two nations have always shared. We are clearly disappointed by the detraction that seems to have come about. The fact is that the issue has already been addressed by and within the Sri Lankan Government,” said a spokesperson of the group.
India has not responded to the allegations or the letter.