New Delhi : An unusual case, filed by the Adani Group, is coming up in the Bombay High Court on Wednesday to prevent the government access to the data that can pin it down in the coal import scam for the thermal power plants that is linked to the private power companies trying to jack up the power rates in six states including Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
Former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi is to appear on behalf of Adani to plead for quashing all Letters Rogatory (LRs) issued by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) as its access to the data can blow up a major scam behind artificially raised prices of coal imported from Indonesia to plead for jacking up the electricity price. The DRI, which comes under the Finance Ministry, wants a special senior counsel capable of taking on Rohatgi.
Congress spokesman Jairam Ramesh accused Jaitley of helping out Adani by not allowing a senior advocate of standing to ensure Rohatgi secures the relief or at least a stay on the DRI’s plea for getting the necessary documents from Singapore.
The Congress has a battery of senior advocates of repute but they are believed to have been strictly ordered by Congress President Rahul Gandhi that none of them should defence Adani or Ambanis.
“The Government talks of Saaf Neeyat (Noble intentions). The neeyat will be shown tomorrow if the Government does not stand up in the court to say Adani Group”s plea be rejected. Finance Ministry should appoint a senior lawyer and fight the case seriously,” said Jairam.
said while expressing his own doubts as he said the Modi government is known for stalling any investigation that can put the Adani Group in trouble.
Quoting from a DRI affidavit in Delhi High Court on March 9 in a public interest litigation (PIL), Ramesh said the agency had identified 40 companies, including the Adani Group, that were under scrutiny for alleged over-invoicing to the tune of Rs 29,000 crore in the coal imports. He had earlier demanded a special investigation team to probe the scandal and prevent Prime Minister Modi protect his favourite industrialist Gautam Adani of Gujarat.
He said the Adani Group moved the Bombay High Court after it failed in the Singapore High Court stopping DRI get the incriminating documents from the Singapore branch of the State Bank of India. Jairam said an Indian businessman moving the Bombay High Court to deny information to a government agency is itself a scandal.
In an earlier press conference, Jairam said Finance Secretary Hasmukhy Adhia had written to then SBI chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya on May 20, 2016 to hand over to DRI the documents related to coal imports, but it was refused by the SBI chairman on the ground of a Singapore High Court order. Since the Singapore High Court did not intervene, Jairam said it is now for the government to ensure that the Bombay High Court does not give a stay and the papers are available to DRI to proceed further.
Jairam said the Adani Group and other power companies went up to the Supreme Court to raise the price of the electricity they had agreed to supply at the fixed rates but they did not succeed. “The Government again violated the Supreme Court order rejecting upward revision of power tariff demanded by Adani Group. The Gujarat government, on the instructions of Centre, set up a committee on tariff revision and accepted its recommendations, giving Rs 1.30 lakh crore benefit to three power companies in Gujarat over 30 years. That means Rs 4500 crore every year and setting a precedent for the power companies in other five states of Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab and Harayana to similarly jack up the power rates.