New Delhi, Apr 4 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today sought the CBI’s response on its inquiry into alleged over-invoicing of coal and equipment imported by power generating companies of Adani group for its plants.
A bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and A K Chawla also asked the agency to indicate on the affidavit the status of the FIR registered by it against state-run entities — Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation (MMTC) and National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) — in connection with alleged over-invoicing of coal imports.
The court further asked the CBI to state what steps it has taken on the alert issued by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) allegedly naming 40 other entities which have indulged in over-invoicing of the fuel and equipment for power plants.
The bench asked the agency to file the affidavit within two weeks and listed the matter for further hearing on May 1.
Meanwhile, the Centre, represented by its standing counsel Ravi Prakash and advocate Farman Ali, said it needed more time to file its reply to two PILs for an SIT probe into alleged over-invoicing of equipment and fuel imported for power plants by the electricity generating companies of Adani and Essar groups.
The court gave the Centre also two weeks time to file its response to the PILs.
The DRI, represented by advocate Aditya Singla, told the court that pursuant to investigation against the companies mentioned in the petition, show cause notices were issued and thereafter, the adjudication of the cases are at different stages.
The submission was made on affidavit in which the DRI has also said that since several transactions were conducted outside India, “there is material evidence which is required to be recovered from overseas as well, for which appropriate legal steps have been initiated”.
Apart from that, the DRI said it was “in the process of issuing Letters Rogatory (LRs) to overseas courts in Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong, Switzerland and Indonesia to gather evidence/documents in accordance with the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties in place with these countries”.
The agency has said in the affidavit that as it was carrying out its investigation in an “effective and expeditious” manner, the petitions deserve to be dismissed.
The court was hearing two petitions, one by a private individual and another by two NGOs alleging that the power firms belonging to the two corporate groups were allegedly inflating the value of imports for their power plants to siphon money abroad and avail higher power rate compensation.
The NGOs have claimed that the DRI had earlier unearthed that public and private sector energy companies were siphoning away several thousands crores of rupees abroad.
“Most of these over-invoicing instances have been reported from the power sector, the impact of which is felt by millions of the electricity consumers in the form of higher tariff,” the NGOs have claimed in their PIL.
“The modus operandi is identical in all these cases. The coal or power equipment, even though (these are) shipped directly to India, but the invoicing is routed through a different company incorporated abroad which is directly owned and controlled by the promoters of the project in India,” the NGOs’ PIL has claimed.
The plea has also claimed that the CBI had registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) based on the DRI show-cause notice to Adani in May 2014.
However, the CBI apparently closed the PE without registering an FIR during the tenure of then the CBI director Ranjit Sinha, the PIL has alleged.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.