We followed India’s top business newspapers over 5 days. The controversy between Modi and Adani hardly mattered

India’s Adani group, their close ties to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and their influence in the Sri Lankan government have been at the center of a political controversy that has unfolded in Sri Lanka over the past five days.

The chairman of Sri Lanka’s state Ceylon Electricity Board accused Modi of pressuring the Sri Lankan government into allocating a wind power project to the Adani Group.

But if you missed this news – which has grave political and economic implications for both countries – despite the prosecution of India’s business newspapers, it’s not your fault.

The news and its shocking developments barely made it into the pink papers of India. While Adani’s proximity to the news media is no secret, the fact that business newspapers almost completely skip the news raises serious questions.

Before we get into how the newspapers (didn’t) cover the news, here’s a synopsis and timeline of what really happened.

On Thursday, June 9th, the Electricity Grid Amendment Bill was passed in the Sri Lankan Parliament amid opposition from the opposition and unions. During a parliamentary debate on the bill, a renewable deal with India’s Adani group was mentioned.

On Friday, MMC Ferdinando, the chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board, addressed a parliamentary committee. He accused Prime Minister Modi of pressuring the Sri Lankan government to award a wind power project to the Adani Group. Ferdinando said he was subpoenaed by Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on November 24, 2021, who told him Modi was “pressuring him to hand over the project to the Adani group.” Ferdinando also shared this interaction with the Treasury, but the letter made no mention of Modi.

On Saturday the President . That evening, Ferdinando retracted his allegations that he had “become emotional from pressure and improper allegations” made against him during testimony.

He resigned on Monday 13 June.

How have India’s business newspapers reported on this? Front-page leads, explainers, opinion pieces, and in-depth coverage of the controversy?

Not really, such an investigation by economic times, mint, business standard, Hindu BusinessLine and Financial Express between June 10th and June 14th.

First let’s take a look economic times.

On Thursday, June 9th economic timesThe website of a PTI copied a copy of how a renewable energy deal with the Adani group had “played a role in Sri Lanka’s parliamentary debate”, noting that a union had claimed the government was “rushing amendments to end big renewable energy deals to close with the Adani group”.

There was no story about the controversy in the Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday print editions. But Page 1 on Monday had a lead on Adani planning to raise up to $4.5 billion after completing India’s “biggest cement takeover.”

On Monday evening, the website of the newspaper a about the resignation of Ferdinando. The Tuesday, June 14 print edition contained no article about the resignation.

mint also seems to have made the editorial decision that the story isn’t important enough for its readers. On Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, the story was completely absent from their print editions. mint does not print on Sundays.

business standard fleetingly mentioned the controversy on Friday – a paragraph off PTI on page 4 in the “In brief” section about the mention of the Adani group during the Sri Lankan parliamentary debate.

business standard does not print on Sundays. The story did not appear in print on Saturday and Monday. On Tuesday, June 14, Ferdinando’s resignation was again referred to a PTI paragraph on page 4.

Financial Express does not print on Sunday. It, unlike Indian ExpressHe did not report on the controversy on Friday, Saturday, Monday or Tuesday.

That Hindu BusinessLine had a lengthy report from his Sri Lankan correspondent today on page 10 but skipped the story in his print editions on the other days even as the Hindu reported in detail. But its website carried reports of the problem and .

Sybil Alvarez

"Incurable gamer. Infuriatingly humble coffee specialist. Professional music advocate."

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