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Congress accuses BJP of covering up Adani Group’s ‘scams’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 17, 2018 Published on September 17, 2018

Jairam Ramesh (left), senior Congress leader, with Vineet Punia, the party’s Secretary, Communication Department, at a news conference in New Delhi on Monday   -  SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

Says govt shows ‘alarming alacrity’ to end probes into group’s businesses

The Congress on Monday accused the Centre of favouring the Adani Group in different cases of coal and power equipment purchase, and asserted that “privatisation of profits and nationalisation of losses” is the principle behind policy-making in the BJP-ruled government.

List of issues

Addressing a press conference here, former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh flagged three issues related to the Adani Group — the termination of investigation into an alleged scam of ₹6,600 crore in the import of power equipment; the Gujarat government’s decision to overlook a 2007 power purchase agreement (PPA) and allow a profit of ₹1.30 lakh-crore to three power companies; and stalling the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI)’s request to appoint a special counsel to contest Adani Enterprises Ltd’s plea in the Bombay High Court to quash all letters rogatory (LRs) pertaining to probes into alleged over-valuation of coal imports.

“Wherever Adani is investigated, this government shows an alarming alacrity to terminate the probe. The first probe conducted by the DRI gave a notice to Adani regarding the import of power equipment, in which it detected a scam of ₹6,600 crore. This probe has now been shelved. This has been done under pressure from the government,” said Ramesh.

The second issue, he said, pertains to a PPA in 2007 which quoted a price of ₹2.40. In April 2017, the Supreme Court validated the agreement.

“A few days ago , the Gujarat government decided that Adani and other companies including Essar will be given relief. They have decided to ignore the SC order and have increased the price of power which was fixed in 2007. In 30 years Essar, Tata and Adani will get a benefit of ₹1.30 lakh-crore. Where will this profit come from? It will come from the consumers and common taxpayers of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab. The banks, too, would be burdened because they have given loans to these companies. An additional ₹18,000-crore burden would be put on the banks,” said Ramesh.

The third point raised by Ramesh was regarding a DRI probe into the import of coal where it prima facie detected a scam of ₹29,000 crore.

DRI investigation

“Eighty per cent of our coal is imported by Adani to sell to NTPC Ltd and other companies. In the Delhi High Court, a petition has been filed by Prashant Bhushan demanding a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe in this matter. According to DRI, there is a scam in coal import and the documents required as proof are stored in the Singapore branch of the State Bank of India.

“Finance Secretary Hansmukh Adhia wrote in May 20, 2016 to the then Chairperson of SBI Arundhati Bhattacharya that some documents are required for a DRI investigation which are available with the SBI Singapore branch. She wrote back in four days that according to Singapore law, the said documents could not be made available. PM (Narendra) Modi has been to Singapore thrice in three years but these documents are not to be found.”

The Congress leader said Adani filed a petition in a Singapore court seeking a stay on a lower court’s demand to produce crucial documents pertaining to coal imports from Adani firms. The Singapore High Court ruled against Adani Global Pte Ltd.

“That means our government and DRI should get these documents pertaining to the coal scam. Adani has now filed a petition in the Bombay High Court that the DRI’s LRs should not be allowed. This would be heard day-after-tomorrow and a lot of big lawyers would defend Adani. We understand that the DRI wants the government to appoint a special counsel in the Bombay High Court and fight in favour of its LRs

Published on September 17, 2018
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