Congress call for coal scam probe

Congress call for coal scam probe


Coming close on the heels of the Rafale aircraft deal, the Congress has now latched on to another issue that might have far-reaching implications for the ruling NDA Government at the Centre.

The Congress has now accused the Centre of stalling the probe against the Adani Group and has demanded an independent inquiry by a Special Investigation Team (SIT). The party has also asked for a time-bound probe into the alleged Rs. 29,000-crore scam involving over-valuation of coal imports.

The attack on the Prime Minister and Finance Minister comes days after the Adani Group moved the Bombay High Court and sought quashing of all Letters Rogatory (LRs), issued by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).

The party accused the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister for being silent on the scam involving 'Modi's industrialist friend' Gautam Adani. The Congress spokesperson, Dr Jairam Ramesh said, "Jaitley writes blogs on every issue, but he is silent on this. He should write a blog on this. He doesn't have the power to take any action."

Adani Global's plea, seeking a stay on producing documents pertaining to coal imports mostly from Indonesia, was earlier rejected by a Singapore court. The group later moved the Bombay High Court on August 28. The companies inflated the price of coal importing from Indonesia, to siphon off money abroad and to avail higher power tariff compensation, the DRI had alleged.

'In October 2014, the DRI announced that there was a huge scam on coal import and a probe was initiated on the over-invoicing. On March 31, 2016, the DRI gave a new statement that 40 companies are involved in this scam worth Rs 29,000 crore,' Dr. Ramesh. The Adani Group filed a litigation in a Singapore court urging the documents, available with SBI (State Bank of India) Singapore branch, should not be given to the Indian Government,' he added.

A PIL demanding an SIT probe was filed in September 2017 at the Delhi High Court by an NGO run by Prashant Bhushan, an advocate and activist. On May 20, 2016, then Revenue Secretary, Hasmukh Adhia (now Finance Secretary), wrote to the SBI chairperson, Arundhati Bhattacharya, saying the bank should provide those documents to DRI so that the probe could be completed, he said.

'After four days, she replied to Adhia saying the documents can't be provided because it was against the Singapore law,' Dr Ramesh said. Demanding an impartial inquiry, Dr Ramesh said, 'the probe has been stalled for four years. But no action has been taken against the company so far. We demand that the DRI probe should be impartial, objective and time-bound. The government should talk to the Singapore government and all papers should be provided to the DRI.'