Just as ‘India on the Moon’ celebrations were in full throttle in the country and congratulatory messages pouring from all over the world on a milestone achieved by Indian scientists at ISRO, first nation to land in the south polar region, a news report posted by the Press Trust of India caught the attention of many.
Since PTI is a news agency with decades of credibility behind it, the said news report needed to be taken up with the seriousness it deserved. It suggests that known India and Modi government baiters in foreign shores along with their allied toolkit groups were preparing to make another strike in garb of investigative reportage.
The news report titled ‘Hindenburg 2.0? George Soros-backed OCCRP said to be planning another ‘expose’,’ perhaps need no further elaboration.
Now what is OCCRP or the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project? It claims to be a global network of investigative journalists with staff in several countries, specialising in reporting on organised crime and largely publishes these ‘news articles’ through partnerships with media houses. But is it really what it claims to be? Or is it just a shiny front to achieve something else?
That answer to it leads to another question: who funds them? On its website, it identifies the Open Society Foundations of George Soros, a financier with a penchant for funding radical causes around the world, as one of the institutional donors. Other prominent donors are Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Oak Foundation. Most people make a distinction about such western institutions, what they officially profess and what role they actually play and how.
It’s important to remind what George Soros, a Hungarian-born American billionaire and a known India baiter since Narendra Modi became prime minister in 2014, said after the Hindenburg report had created ripples: “In India, Modi and business tycoon Adani are close allies. Their fate is intertwined. Adani Enterprises tried to raise funds in the stock market but failed…Modi will have to answer on Adani in Parliament. This will significantly weaken Modi’s stranglehold on India’s federal govt. I expect a democratic revival in India…I could be foolish, but I think democracy will flourish again.”
It may be noted that Soros saw India to be happy and healthy in the UPA 1 and UPA 2 era.
Though in the immediate aftermath of Hindenburg report Adani stocks badly tumbled, a political storm erupted, opposition Congress and its allies forced complete washout of winter session of Parliament, all kinds of allegations were made against the Modi government by its known critics and political rivals, but as the time passed people and investors saw through the possible game in that foreign-originated report, Adani stocks gained upward momentum and the Supreme Court-appointed committee led by former Supreme Court Justice AM Sapre on the Adani-Hindenburg issue came to a conclusion that “prima facie no regulatory failure on part of the SEBI around the allegation of price manipulation”.
In short, Soros’ wishes couldn’t get the flight path trajectory he wanted. There is, thus, this informed speculation the OCCRP was coming out with “Hindenburg 2.0” to try and cause further political and economic upheaval in India.
It has been proved on multiple occasions that they time their report with some important events in India’s calendar. Let’s see why the current timing is important. But before that a bit of backgrounder.
In May, a six-member expert Supreme Court-appointed committee stated that there was evidence of a build-up in short positions on Adani Group stocks ahead of the release of the Hindenburg report. Suspicious trading was observed on the part of six entities. Of these, four are FPIs, one body corporate and one individual. Some news reports suggest that on further investigation, the number of such entities have gone up. It suggested that SEBI ought to be probing such actions under securities laws.
SEBI is expected to submit its report to the Supreme Court on Aug. 29. It is nobody’s case to suggest that the higher judiciary verdict can be influenced by some media or other privately funded reports, but such reports do create a negative buzz and give some additional talking points to the petitioner’s lawyers in the court.
In less than a fortnight, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be hosting the G20 summit meeting in New Delhi. Raising political dust or adverse economic/stock market report wouldn’t be in the best interests. PM Modi and India in recent years have gained great stature in the global high table. India through its hard work in various sectors is trying overtime to go higher. Modi has already declared that in his third term India will become the third largest economy in the world. That surely does not go well with India and Modi baiters in sections of supposed Western influence groups.
The Opposition INDIA block is meeting in Mumbai on Aug. 31. It has been proven that the Opposition picks up anything and everything, real, half-truth or manufactured, in its bid to target the Modi government. The Soros Open society-funded Hindenburg 2.0, if it comes, would be instantly used as ammunition. More so, at a time when the newly formed alliance is showing signs of conflict and contradiction.
It would be worthwhile to recall what External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said a few months ago that he was not sure if election season had started in India, but for sure it had started in New York and London. Since then, the run up to the 2024 elections has moved even closer. Soros and his men for sure are working hard.
(Sanjay Singh is a senior journalist based in Delhi)
Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of the author.