Industrialist Gautam AdaniImage Credit source: File Photo : PTI
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has sought permission to restart the investigation into Adani Group for alleged overvaluation of coal imports. Reuters reported on Friday that the investigating agency has approached the Supreme Court for permission to collect evidence from Singapore. Since 2016, the DRI has been trying to obtain documents related to Adani’s transactions from Singapore authorities. DRI suspects that many of the group’s coal shipments imported from Indonesian suppliers were billed at higher prices on paper, first to its Singapore unit, Adani Global Pte, and then to its Indian branches.
Reuters claims that Gautam Adani’s Adani Enterprises and its subsidiaries have faced repeated legal challenges in India and Singapore to prevent the release of the documents. In a legal filing dated October 9, the DRI asked the Supreme Court to quash a previous lower court order that had allowed the Adani Group company to prevent authorities from collecting evidence from Singapore.
On its part, Adani Group has not denied all the allegations against it. Adani Group says that Indian authorities had assessed its coal shipment before releasing the coal from the ports. At 9.50 am on Friday, shares of Adani Enterprises were trading at Rs 2,227.30, up 1.01 per cent.
The investigation started in 2014
According to the report, DRI started investigating Adani’s imports in 2014, which was part of a broader investigation of 40 companies. The agency alleged that companies importing Indonesian coal were over-invoicing for deliveries by showing shipment bills sent through middlemen in Singapore and elsewhere.
Indian authorities have reviewed 1,300 shipments related to Adani Group companies. In its submission in the court, it has alleged that the import price of coal is much higher than the export price from Indonesia. So that higher electricity prices can be charged in the country. DRI claimed that the amount involved could be in billions of rupees. An official told Reuters that the evidence investigators are seeking from Singapore authorities includes documents of Adani’s transactions with 20 banks, which could help establish a financial trail in the case.
what will happen then
If the Supreme Court accepts this new request of the agency and grants permission for investigation, then it will need to obtain an order from the Singapore court to release the material. Last month, a Singapore court rejected a Reuters request to review case documents and said in a written response that the files had been sealed. But reviewed hundreds of pages of Indian court filings and orders. After which the dispute between India and Adani came to light, which has spread from Mumbai to New Delhi and Singapore in recent years.
What did the Mumbai court say?
In 2019, on Adani’s challenge, the Bombay High Court cited procedural lapses in canceling Indian investigators’ request to collect evidence against Adani. A few days later, the agency appealed to the Supreme Court, which stayed Mumbai’s decision “till further orders”, which the agency later argued in a petition filed in the Supreme Court “may continue the investigation”. But after Adani’s request in late 2020, the Singapore court said that the documents should not be released yet because the Supreme Court of India has not reached a final decision.