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Sri Lanka: Government’s recommendation to Adani Group

Sri Lanka: Government's recommendation to Adani Group

The chairman of Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) made a statement before a parliamentary committee that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “pressured” President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to get an Adani Group power project in the country.

However, a day later, seeing the controversy grow, the president of the JCE retracted this statement and then resigned. Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has also denied these allegations.

Ceylon Electricity Board has given this clarification to the FT Newspaper. It read: “A proposal from Adani Green Energy Limited was considered and approved at the request and recommendation of the Government of India.”

The award of the Mannar and Pooneryn renewable energy projects to AGEL sparked controversy earlier this month after then-CEB president M.M.C. Ferdinando was reported to have told the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) “that the tender for the wind power plant in Mannar had been awarded to India’s Adani Group as a result of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi putting pressure on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.”

With the already embattled Gotabaya quickly contradicting the CEB president publicly via a tweet and a statement from the president’s office, Ferdinando first withdrew the statement from him and offered an unqualified apology before resigning a couple of days later.

Neither the Indian government nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spoke when the controversy broke out in Lanka.

Governments around the world promote their corporate entities abroad and business delegations have been part of the official entourage of Prime Ministers during foreign visits in the past, but the Opposition here have often pointed to what they see as just a few houses businesses benefiting from the Modi government’s efforts to facilitate Indian business elsewhere.

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