Alleges Irregularities In The Selection Of Supply Co For Power Stations In Andhra

New Delhi/Hyderabad

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a criminal case against Adani Enterprises Ltd for colluding with officials of the National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation (NCCF) to unfairly win a contract for supplying coal to an Andhra Pradesh government-owned company.

The agency named former NCCF chairman Virender Singh, its then managing director G.P. Gupta and former senior adviser S.C. Singhal in the first information report (FIR). Adani Enterprises and the NCCF officials were booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

CBI’s latest move comes amid mounting scrutiny on Adani’s Carmichael project in Australia from Greta Thunberg and other environmental activists. The project in the Galilee Basin of Queensland is facing fresh attacks from environmentalists as Australia suffers catastrophic bushfires that have killed 28 people and caused massive devastation to wildlife and the environment.

In the FIR, India’s federal investigation agency alleged that Singh and Gupta favoured Ahmedabad-based Adani Enterprises in getting the contract when Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corp. Ltd floated the tender in 2010 for the supply of 600,000 tonnes of coal.

The probe agency also alleged that Adani Enterprises used a proxy company to get the supply contract. NCCF had received bids from six companies—Adani Enterprises, Maheswari Brothers Coal Ltd, Vyom Trade Links Pvt. Ltd, Swarna Projects Pvt. Ltd, Gupta Coal India Ltd and Kyori Oremin Ltd.

“Post tender negotiation was done by senior officials of NCCF to give undue favour to Adani Enterprises Ltd despite it not qualifying the tender (terms),” the agency’s FIR said. “Instead of cancelling the bid of Adani Enterprises Ltd, the senior management of NCCF conveyed the offer margin to the company through one of its representatives, Munish Sehgal, who was sitting in the NCCF head office. It is prima facie evident that when the bids were being processed at the NCCF head office in Delhi, a representative of Adani Enterprises was informed regarding their imminent rejection due to non-submission of NCCF margin, and also that MBCL (Maheswari Brothers), the eligible bidder, quoted 2.25% margin.”

CBI, which is likely to soon issue summons to those named in the FIR, has further alleged that Adani Enterprises gave an unsecured loan of ₹16.81 crore to Vyom Trade Links in 2008-09. Bank guarantees of Adani Enterprises and Vyom Trade Links were also issued by “the same branch of the State Bank of India and at the same time”.

An Adani Enterprises spokesperson said the subject matter is an “old one”, adding that the company has complied with the process, formalities and relevant laws for the coal supply.

“The company has not done anything wrong in supply of coal. It’s a preliminary investigation report only. The company shall respond to the same and shall also put forth the factual position to the authority,” the spokesperson added.

:The CBI has filed an FIR against Adani Enterprises Ltd and three former officials ofthe National Cooperative Consumer Federation (NCCF) alleging irregularities in the selection of a company for supply of coal to power stations in Andhra Pradesh. The FIR named Adani Enterprises, former NCCF chairman Virender Singh, its former managing director G P Gupta and its senior advisor S C Singhal as accused. They have been charged with criminal conspiracy, cheating and under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.

The FIR said the accused “committed irregularities by way of manipulation in the selection of bidders, thereby giving undue favour to Adani Enterprises Ltd in award of work for supply of imported coal to APGENCO despite its disqualification”. The agency alleged that acts of “omission and commission” by NCCF officers showed that they acted in “a manner unbecoming of public servants” and conspired with the company. According to the FIR, the Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation (APGENCO) floated a tenderfor the supply ofcoal to Narla Tata Rao thermal power plant in Vijayawada and the Rayalaseema Thermal Power Plant (RTPP) in Kadapa on June 29, 2010.

CBI alleged that NCCF’s Hyderabad unitforwarded the tender to Singhal. “The same day, the head office selected a single party— Maharishi Brothers Coal Limited (MBCL instead of floating an open tender for competitive bidders citing lack of time,” the FIR said. On July 7, APGENCO informed NCCF, Hyderabad, that the date of tender had been extended to July 12 following which allocation to MBCL was cancelled and an open tender was floated, it added. The draft tender notice was discussed and approved by Singhal, Gupta and Singh who ignored guidelines, CBI claimed. Six bidders — including Adani Enterprisesresponded to the tender on July 10.

“Gupta Coal had quoted 11.3% NCCF margin while MBCL had kept it at 2.25% but the remaining companies had not quoted any NCCF margin.,” the FIR said. “Instead of cancelling the bid of Adani Enterprises Ltd, senior management of NCCF conveyed the offer margin to the company through one of its representatives,” the FIR said.