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MUMBAI: Beleaguered Indian tycoon Gautam Adani denied Friday that his rise to become Asia’s richest man — a title he has lost in a phenomenal stock rout — was due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as shares in his conglomerate fell again.

His listed units’ combined market capitalisation has collapsed by around $120 billion — about half of the group’s value — since US short-seller Hindenburg Research, which makes money by betting on shares falling, released an explosive report last week.

It accused Adani of accounting fraud and artificially boosting its share prices, calling it a “brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme” and “the largest con in corporate history”.

Critics say Adani’s close relationship with Modi, who is also from Gujarat state, has helped him win business and avoid proper oversight.

“These allegations are baseless,” Adani told India Today television on Friday, adding that their shared origins made him an “easy target” for such claims.

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