Business conglomerate GVK Group on Wednesday categorically said there was no 'extraneous pressure' from anyone to sell its stake in Mumbai airport as alleged by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
The company's comments came a day after Gandhi alleged in Lok Sabha that 'Mumbai airport, was taken away from GVK using agencies such as the CBI and the ED, and was given to Adani by the Government of India'.
"GVK reiterates that the decision to sell its stakes in Mumbai Airport to Adani, was taken by the management and there was absolutely no question of any extraneous pressure being exerted on us," GVK Group spokesperson told PTI.
Adani Group, which is currently in the eye of a storm over the recent report by short-seller Hindenburg Research related to its company's business dealings, took over the management of the Mumbai airport from GVK Group in July 2021.
While explaining the circumstances that led to the sale of the airport, GVK Group Vice Chairman Sanjay Reddy told a TV channel that it was looking to raise funds for the airport business.
Reddy said that at that time, Adani Group founder-chairman Gautam Adani approached him saying he had a lot of interest in the airport and whether GVK Group was willing to do a transaction with him.
"... He (Adani) said that he will assure that we will conclude the entire transaction in one month which was very important for us. So, from that perspective, whatever we did was in the interest of the company and the lenders who we had to repay and therefore, we had to close the transaction with Adani because we didn't see any light of day with the other investors," Reddy said.
While leading the Opposition attack over the Adani-Hindenburg issue in Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Gandhi alleged that the government tweaked rules in favour of Adani and said the clause that no one without any prior experience would be involved in the development of airports was done away with.
"This rule was changed by the government and Adani was given six airports. After that, India's most strategic, profitable airport, Mumbai Airport, was taken away from GVK using agencies like the CBI, ED, and was given to Adani by the Government of India," he alleged.
In July 2021, Adani Enterprises Limited said Adani Airport Holdings Ltd (AAHL), the flagship holding company of Adani Group's airport business, will hold nearly 98 per cent stake in GVK Airport Developers Ltd (GVKADL) pursuant to the rights exercised by it as a lender to the company.
AAHL took over the management control of Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL).
GVKADL is the holding company of GVK Airport Holdings Ltd (GVKAHL) which holds 50.50 per cent equity stake in MIAL.
The latter holds 74 per cent equity stake in Navi Mumbai International Airport Ltd.