Congress accuses Modi government of favouring Adani in coal import case

Congress accuses Modi government of favouring Adani in coal import case

NEW DELHI:Accusing the Narendra Modi government of promoting crony capitalism, the Congress on Monday asked it to come clean by appointing a special counsel in the Bombay High Court in a case of alleged over-invoicing of coal imports by industrialist Gautam Adani-led group.nnCongress spokesperson Jairam Ramesh also alleged that the Gujarat government has accepted the recommendations of a three-member panel to raise the cost of power purchased from three private entities including Essar, Tatas and Adanis that will cost Rs 1.30 lakh crore in the next 30 years.nnAt a press conference, Ramesh alleged the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has tried to save industrialist Gautam Adani whenever a probe is launched against him and cited a Rs 6,500-crore alleged scam relating to the purchase of power appliances.nnHe asked Modi whether his government would appoint a special counsel to defend the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) for accepting its Letters Rogatory (LRs) to seek information on the alleged Rs 29,000-crore scam in over-invoicing of coal imports from Singapore.nnAdani group, which has earlier denied these allegations, had moved the Bombay High Court last month seeking to quash LRs — issued to agencies abroad to seek information or assistance — issued by the DRI in 2016 in the case.nnIn March 2016, the DRI had initiated probe against some Adani Group firms for alleged overvaluation of coal imports from Indonesia between 2011 and 2015.nnDRI issued LRs to Singapore, Dubai and Hong Kong authorities seeking their help to access documents lying with overseas branches of three state-owned banks relating to the transactions under probe.nnRamesh also said the prime minister gave the slogan of “minimum government, maximum governance” but it seems the same has changed to “munaafe ka nijikaran, ghaate ka rashtriyakaran” (privatisation of profits and nationalisation of losses), after it allowed increase in power rates.nnHe said this hike in rate of power purchased from private companies would put an additional burden of Rs 18,000 crore on banks who have given loans to those firms and power consumers who would have to pay more.nnRamesh said the documents required to prove the Rs 29,000-crore coal scam are with Singapore branch of the SBI.nnHe claimed the Finance Ministry wrote to the then SBI CMD Arundhati Bhattacharya in 2016 that the DRI has been investigating the matter and wanted the documents, but she later cited Singapore laws to reject the request.nnRamesh further claimed Adani subsequently filed a petition in a Singapore court requesting to deny the Government of India the documents desired by it.nnAfter his petition was turned down by the Singapore court, Adani has now filed a case in the Bombay High Court requesting rejecting of the LRs, the Congress leader said.nnStating that the hearing in the case is scheduled for Wednesday, Ramesh said the biggest legal luminaries will come to defend the case in favour of Adani and it was the most opportune moment for Modi to prove his “real intentions” by appointing a special counsel to defend the cause of the DRI.nnRamesh claimed the DRI has already requested for appointment of a special counsel but the finance ministry has not yet taken a decision on it.nnHe also alleged that a show cause notice has been served on four companies importing coal but not on Adani group, which is importing 80 per cent of the total coal imported.

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