Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Sunday raised questions about the presence of industrialists Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani at Narendra Modi’s oath-taking ceremony, and recalled that the prime minister in May had accused them of giving black money to the Opposition.

“On 8th May, 2024 Narendra Modi had accused two of India's biggest businessmen of driving tempos full of kala dhan [black money],” Ramesh said in a post on X, referring to remarks that Modi made at a rally in Telangana’s Karimnagar. “We had demanded immediate action by the ED [Enforcement Directorate]. Well, those two gentlemen are now present at the swearing-in ceremony.”

Modi on Sunday took oath as the prime minister for the third consecutive term at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance returned to power with an unexpectedly narrow margin in the 2024 Lok Sabha election. While the BJP fell short of the halfway mark of 272 by 32 seats, the coalition as a whole won 292 constituencies.

On May 8, Modi had claimed at the Karimnagar rally claimed that the Congress had stopped criticising Ambani and Adani since the Lok Sabha elections were announced. He had asked whether the Opposition party had received “black money” from them in return.

“Have tempos full of [currency] notes reached the Congress?” Modi had asked.

Congress leaders, including former party president Rahul Gandhi, have accused the Union government of favouritism towards conglomerates owned by Ambani and Adani. The party’s claims about the Adani Group grew more emphatic in the wake of allegations of accounting fraud, improper use of tax havens and money laundering against the conglomerate made by United States-based short seller Hindenburg Research in January 2023.

Hours after Modi made the remarks, Gandhi dared the prime minister to get an inquiry done by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate into the matter.

Ramesh had also questioned why central agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax Department were not acting against conglomerates owned by Adani and Ambani if the two industrialists had “sacks full of black money”.

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