The Congress on Saturday alleged that the Gujarat government had made an excess payment of Rs 3,900 crore to Adani Power Mundra Limited, in violation of an agreement it had signed with the company, and was now seeking return of that amount, fearing that it would be exposed.
Gujarat Congress chief Shaktisinh Gohil said at a media conference in Delhi: “This is corruption with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s blessings. It’s like apna maal hai, loot lo (your own money, take it). This is irrefutable evidence of the crony capitalism that Rahul Gandhi has been talking about.”
Gohil further said: “The matter came to light and the officers are frightened. Now a letter has been written to Adani Power Mundra Limited for recovery of the amount. This would not have happened had the Hindenburg report and the subsequent Supreme Court committee not come. RTI queries were filed about it and the matter came out. The issue is, why did the government pay for five years even as the terms of agreement were not followed?”
Gohil explained that the government of Gujarat’s Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd had signed a power purchase agreement with Adani Power Mundra Limited, which said the energy charges to be paid to the Adani firm would be tied to the price of coal it was procuring from Indonesia. The Adani firm would deposit the coal bills and the competitive bid documents, and these would be compared with the rate in Argus — an international market circuit for benchmark prices. The agreement said that the government would not pay above the Argus rate.
For five years the Adani firm was paid even though it did not submit the required coal price documents, Gohil said. The Gujarat government has now written to the company to say that Rs 13,802 crore had been paid when Rs 9,902 crore should have been paid, and has sought a refund of the excess Rs 3,900 crore, he added.
No official would have made such excess payments, Gohil said, and asked “on whose bidding” was this done, “the chief minister or the Prime Minister or anyone else?”
“This cannot happen without instructions from the top. Who gave the orders — the chief minister or the Prime Minister? Now the letter written by the government (procured through an RTI query) says documents, invoices and reports have not been submitted despite several reminders,” Gohil said.
Quoting from the letter purportedly written by GUVNL to the Adani firm, Gohil said: “In the implementation stage of above interim mechanism, it is observed that the rate at which coal is being purchased by APMuL (the Adani company) is significantly higher than the actual market value... at which coal is being traded in Indonesia. It is to mention that Energy Charge paid/ admissible by GUVNL for the period from 15.10.2018 to 31.03.2023 is around Rs 13,802 crore. Considering the CERC Base Rate order 13.06.2022 works out to around Rs 12,364 crore while payable amount considering the Argus Index as Base Rate works out to around Rs 9,902 crore.”
The letter added: “The matter with regard to interim mechanism for ad-hoc payment was examined by the Board of GUVNL and the need was felt to review the methodology of interim mechanism in view of excess payment made to APMuL.”
Gohil said: “Now they have requested that the Adani firm should return the excess Rs 3,900 crore paid to them. This is the result of the fear of exposure after the Supreme Court committee. This is nothing but money-laundering. Why is the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and CBI still not there?”
The Congress leader also said the Gujarat government letter was silent on whether the administration would seek interest on the excess amount of Rs 3,900 crore paid over five years.
Congress communications chief Jairam Ramesh said in a statement: “The inability of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) to reach a conclusive finding on allegations of round-tripping and money-laundering by the Adani Group, as it has admitted in its 25th August, 2023, status report to the Supreme Court, is deeply troubling. Of the 24 matters it has investigated relating to the Adani MegaScam, two still have interim status.”
Ramesh added: “One of the interim reports relates to the important question of whether Adani violated the Minimum Public Shareholding requirement under Rule 19A of the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Rules. In simple terms, did Adani use opaque entities based in overseas tax havens to engage in the kind of round-tripping and money laundering that the Prime Minister has always claimed to oppose? Sebi has stated that the reason for delay is that information from external agencies and entities is still awaited.”
Ramesh said: “Final reports on these critical questions are awaited. Will Sebi do its fiduciary duty and identify the source of the Rs 20,000 crore of benami overseas funds that have flowed into the Adani Group?”