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Overseas probe against Adani firms revived as SC stays Bombay HC order

The investigation is part of a larger probe by the revenue department for over-invoicing of imported coal and power plant equipment by several Indian electricity producers

Agencies  |  New Delhi 

Gautam Adani | File photo
The DRI alleges Gautam Adani firms had overvalued imported coal consignments to avail of tax benefits

The Supreme Court has revived the revenue department’s bid to investigate billionaire Gautam Adani’s companies, which it claims got undue tax benefits by overvaluing coal imports.

A three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde on Wednesday put on hold the Bombay High Court's decision to quash all letters rogatory (LRs) sent by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to Singapore and other countries. This will allow the revenue office to seek information on the case from overseas. The apex court also asked Adani Enterprises and Adani Power to submit their stance.

LRs are sent to investigative or judicial agencies in other countries when some information is required during a probe of off-shore entities.

The DRI alleges that the had overvalued about 1,300 consignments of coal imported from Indonesia to avail tax benefits in India between 2010 and 2016.

The group routed the imports through several countries and siphoned off money, according to the agency.

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Requests to cooperate with the investigation were sent to Singapore, the UAE, Hong Kong, and the British Virgin Islands in 2016. The high court ruling had invalidated these requests last year, but the Supreme Court decision means the investigation can continue for now. The top court said it would hear the case again after two weeks.

Representatives for the didn’t immediate reply to an email seeking comment. The has in the past denied the allegations.

The investigation is part of a larger probe by the revenue department for over-invoicing of imported coal and power plant equipment by several Indian electricity producers. Power tariffs in India broadly consist of two parts -- the equipment cost and variable charges such as fuel. The benefited by seeking higher power tariffs and compensation for increased cost of fuel, according to submissions by the probe agency in the lower court.

First Published: Wed, January 08 2020. 22:30 IST
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