‘Laxman Rekha Between Management and Editorial’: Gautam Adani on NDTV Takeover

"These are only media hype," Adani said on being asked what it feels like to be the richest Indian and Asian.

3 min read
Hindi Female

"On editorial independence, let me say categorically that NDTV will be a credible, independent, global network with a clear ‘laxman rekha' between management and editorial," Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani told TV news channel India Today in an interview with India Today Group Editorial Director (Publishing) Raj Chengappa on 28 December.

"You can endlessly debate and interpret each and every word of what I am saying as has been done by many. But my fundamental point is that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. So please allow us sometime before you start judging us,” he added.

Billionaire Adani's takeover of news channel NDTV has been completed, as per a statement by founders Radhika and Prannoy Roy on 23 December.

"The AMG Media Network, after the recent Open Offer, is now the single-largest shareholder in NDTV. Consequently, with mutual agreement we have decided to divest most of our shares in NDTV to the AMG Media network," the statement had read.


‘Journey as Entrepreneur Took Off Due to Rajiv Gandhi'

“Prime Minister Modi and myself, both belong to the state of Gujarat. And that makes me the easy target of such baseless allegations,” Adani remarked when asked about allegations associating his meteoric rise to PM Modi.

He further explained that his journey as an entrepreneur would have never taken off had it not been for former PM Rajiv Gandhi and the policy of liberalising the economy.

“The second push that I got was in 1991 when PV Narsimha Rao was the Prime Minister and Dr Manmohan Singh was the Finance Minister and they introduced the economic reforms.”   
Gautam Adani

Further, he attributed his rise to the time when Keshubhai Patel was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, saying his policies were what prompted Adani to build a port at Mundra.

“The fourth turning point was In 2001, when Gujarat witnessed a massive developmental push with Narendra Modi as the Chief Minister,” Adani told India Today.  


‘Debt of Rs Two Lakh Crore’

On reports of Adani Group being ‘over-leveraged’ and having a debt of Rs two lakh crore, Adani said, “We are financially very strong and secure. Such noises mainly come from two categories – people who are not doing a deep dive to understand the nuances of the debt and finances of the company. And secondly, from people with vested interests who are deliberately creating confusion and misunderstanding to tarnish the reputation of the group."

He said that in the last nine years, the Adani Group’s profit has been growing at twice the rate of their debt, because of which, their debt to EBITDA ratio has come down from 7.6 to 3.2, “which is very healthy for a large group, where most of the companies are in the infrastructure space,” Adani claimed.

“It is because of this fundamental financial strength of the group, that we were able to close the ACC and Ambuja Cement deal of $10.5 billion in a record time of three months," he said.

'Public Sector Banks Exposed to Huge Amounts of Adani Debt’

“Nine years ago, of our total debt, 86 percent was lending from Indian banks. But now, the exposure of Indian banks to our total lending has reduced to 32 percent. Almost 50 percent of our borrowing is from international bonds,” Adani explained when he was asked about reports of public sector banks being exposed to huge amounts of debt from the Adani Group.


‘World Rankings: Media Hype’

On being asked what it feels like to be the richest Indian and Asian, and the world’s third richest person, Adani said in the interview to India Today, “These rankings and numbers do not matter to me. These are only media hype. I am a first-generation entrepreneur. We had to build everything from scratch.”

Adding that he gets his thrills from facing challenges, Adani quipped, “For me the opportunity and the ability to make a difference in people’s lives and contribute to the growth and building of the nation is far more satisfying and important than being on some wealth ranking or a valuation raise.”

‘Tenacity of the Average Indian Is Very Inspiring’

On being asked what motivates the Chairman of the Adani Group, he remarked, “I was greatly moved by the stories of Arunima Sinha and Kiran Kanojia, two extraordinary women who unfortunately lost their limbs but yet conquered the world.”

Dr Arunima Sinha is the world's first woman amputee to scale Mt Everest the world's highest mountain, while Kiran Kanojia is India’s first woman blade runner.

‘Policy Changes in 1991 Enabled Private Sector’

When asked about the Adani Group’s enormous expansion in infrastructure and newer areas, Adani told India Today, “Starting from 1991, policy changes created an enabling environment for the private sector in the infrastructure space. I am determined to use every opportunity to build world-class infrastructure and facilities for India and Indians.”

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read Latest News and Breaking News at The Quint, browse for more from news and india

Topics:  NDTV   Gautam Adani 

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More