Chaotic scenes in both houses of India’s parliament led to their adjournment on Friday as some legislators demanded an inquiry after a dramatic meltdown in the stock market values of Indian billionaire Gautam Adani’s companies.

The crisis was triggered by a Hindenburg Research report last week in which the United States-based short-seller accused Adani Group of stock manipulation and unsustainable debt.

Adani Group, one of India’s top conglomerates, has rejected the criticism and denied wrongdoing in detailed rebuttals but that has failed to arrest the unabated fall in its shares. In the latest sign of the crisis widening, India’s Ministry of Corporate Affairs has begun a preliminary review of Adani Group’s financial statements and other regulatory submissions made over the years, two government officials told the Reuters news agency.

Although shares in Adani companies recovered after sharp falls earlier on Friday, the seven listed firms have still lost more than $100bn – about half their market value – since Hindenburg published its report on January 24. Moody’s warned the share plunge could hit the Adani Group’s ability to raise capital, although fellow credit ratings agency Fitch saw no immediate effect on its rating.

“These adverse developments are likely to reduce the group’s ability to raise capital to fund committed capex or refinance maturing debt over the next 1-2 years. We recognise that a portion of the capex is deferrable,” Moody’s said in a statement.

For Adani, a former school drop-out from Gujarat, the western home state of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the crisis presents the biggest reputational and business challenge of his life as his firm struggles to assuage investor concerns.

Amid fears the turmoil could spill over into the broader financial system, some Indian politicians have called for a wider investigation and sources have told Reuters the central bank has asked lenders for details of exposure to the group.

Source: AlJazeera

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