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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 19 June 2024

Congress raises ‘tempo’ on Adani group coal report to embarrass the Narendra Modi government

According to Congress, this is another example of impunity with which the 'Prime Minister’s close friends' have enriched themselves in the past decade by violating law

Anita Joshua New Delhi Published 23.05.24, 06:07 AM
Gautam Adani

Gautam Adani File picture

The Congress on Wednesday sought to embarrass the Modi government once again over its “nexus” with the Adani group, citing a Financial Times report on the company passing off low-grade coal as high-value fuel in transactions to a state-run power company.

“Will the Prime Minister tell how many tempos were used to rein in ED, CBI and the IT department vis-à-vis this scam?” asked Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on X.

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“The INDIA bloc government will probe this scam after June 4,” he posted, while sharing a screengrab of the FT report which is based on documents secured by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), a global network of investigative journalists with employees across six continents.

In a related statement, the Congress said: “As the election momentum of the INDIA coalition accelerates, the tempo of revelations about the Modani Mega Scam has also picked up.”

Referring to the FT report, the statement said: “Dozens of shipments of low-quality, high-ash coal bought cheaply by Adani from Indonesia in 2014 were sold fraudulently at three times the price to the public sector Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) as high-quality low-ash coal. Adani made excess profits of 3,000 crore from this while the common person was made to suffer overpriced electricity and elevated air pollution.”

According to the Congress, this is another example of the impunity with which the “Prime Minister’s close friends” have enriched themselves in the past decade by violating the law.

The party said: “The PM may have helped Adani to stall all the investigations carried out into its illicit activities in India, but the information pouring in from Indonesia and other countries has only shown how close those investigations were to unveiling the truth before PM Modi bailed out his partner.

“The case to permit the directorate of revenue intelligence to investigate Adani’s coal over-invoicing has languished in the Supreme Court but the OCCRP documents show exactly how the over-invoicing and money laundering has occurred for years under the noses of India’s usually overactive investigative agencies,” the Congress said.

There was no immediate reaction from the Adani group to the FT report, however, the company shared the response it had sent to FT when the newspaper was working on the story in which the group denied the allegations of providing low-grade coal to Tangedco, pointing out that it is tested for quality at the receiving plant.

The report states that invoices show that in January 2014, Adani purchased an Indonesian shipment of coal said to contain 3,500 calories per kilogramme. “The same shipment was sold to Tangedco as 6,000-calorie coal, one of the most valuable grades. Adani appears to have more than doubled its money in the process after transport costs.

“The FT has also matched documentation for a further 22 shipments in 2014 involving the same parties that indicates a pattern of grade inflation in the supply of 1.5mn tonnes of coal. Adani sourced the coal in Indonesia from a mining group known for its low-calorie output, at prices consistent with low-grade fuel. It delivered the coal to India’s southern-most state for power generation, fulfilling a contract that specified expensive high-quality fuel,” the report states.

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