Ranjona Banerji: Mainstream media skips about like happy little children…

27 Jan,2023

By Ranjona Banerji


Ranjona BanerjiOn January 24, the US-based Hindenburg Research released a two-year investigation into India’s fastest growing company, the Adani Group.

Hindenburg is named for the famous exploding blimp because, according to their website: “We look for similar man-made disasters floating around in the market and aim to shed light on them before they lure in more unsuspecting victims.”

According to Hindenburg, the Adani Group is pulling “the largest con in corporate history”.


There have of course been murmurs in India, including some braver sections of the Indian media (albeit tiny) about Adani’s improbable growth and rumours of closeness to the ruling dispensation. And there have been massive uproars against the Adani Group in Australia. The group is excellent at filing SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) cases against journalists who ask uncomfortable questions.

For instance, this one, against Paranjoy Guha-Thakurta when he was editor of EPW:


And this one against The Wire:


This is easy if you live in India.

But Hindenburg Research is not an Indian company, it is not a journalistic enterprise. And the report comes with a very thorough disclaimer.

So far, an employee of the Adani Group has stood next to an Indian flag and protested. The official statement used terms like “factual matrix” after which my head exploded and I could not read any more.

As of now, we are at a stalemate.

But Hindenburg Research has let several worms out.

Business Standard has picked up on some of them with this:


Who indeed supports the Adani Group and has helped in its amazing growth? The BS story concentrates on murky off-shore names, which Hindenburg has explored in detail.

But we all know that in India, no one gets this far without potent political capital. And oh my, who could that be, who supports the Adani Group with such generous gratitude?

Who indeed.

Until the mainstream Indian media digs its teeth into the political story behind the Adani Group, regardless of whether it gets SLAPPed and tickled, there will be no end to this magical beanstalk’s rise into the sky. How long since the Panama Papers told us about illegal offshore accounts attached to various companies worldwide?

I do though see Gautam Adani’s face smiling at me in newspapers and digital stories which are largely reports on the Hindenburg investigation or follow up stories about how Adani stocks have fallen since the story appeared. But so far, nothing further.


Adani may rise further or not. The town of Joshimath though still faces collapse. The Government of India has not just tried to stop the internet from carrying the BBC documentary on the Gujarat riots of 2002 and Narendra Modi’s uneasy relationship with Muslims, it has tried to stop showings with India.

Although Kerala and Hyderabad have had showings, JNU students claim that the campus had a massive three-hour powercut just as they tried to show the film and several students of Jamia Milia were detained by the police.



Incidentally, this BBC documentary has not been officially banned.

And yet, we see no threat to our Constitution when the police and the administration behave in this illegal, high-handed manner. And we applaud the celebration of Republic Day even as the reason we celebrate is regularly debased. The mainstream media of course is as ever skipping about like happy little children in a special Modi garden.

Though I was really unhappy to see, admittedly after a very cursory internet search, that there was no flurry of articles on the prime minister’s fashion choices for the parade.

That is a clear sign of a lazy media.



Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist and commentator. She writes on MxMIndia on Tuesdays and Fridays. Her views here are personal.

Post a Comment 

Comments are closed.

Today's Top Stories