Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh and business tycoon Gautam Adani continued to spar on Monday over the allocation of coal mines and allegations of Adani benefitting from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rule. The crux of the argument is related to a coal mine allocation – one made to Adani in Chhattisgarh in alleged contravention of tribal forest land laws.

While Ramesh claimed that the Chhattisgarh government is supporting Adani, Adani claimed it was Ramesh himself who had given forest clearance for it while he was Union environment minister. Adani also claimed he was merely the contractor for the mining project, which was given to the Rajasthan government by Ramesh. However, Ramesh insists that the Chhattisgarh government is trying to go around laws protecting tribal rights that he had put in place during his tenure. The project had been stayed in January after its legalities were questioned.

Ramesh said, “Shri Adani should have had the intellectual honesty to acknowledge the issue in dispute. That he is the beneficiary of Shri Narendra Modi’s largesse both as CM of Gujarat and PM of India is beyond any doubt.” In response, the Adani group said that they had the Congress to thank instead for their success, as the Rajiv Gandhi government had conceived the economic liberalisation of 1991, which he said benefitted businesses like his.