New Delhi-based senior advocate Prashant Bhushan has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Delhi High Court on the alleged over-valuation of Indonesian coal and power equipment imports by some of the top firms in the country to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) is currently investigating over a dozen firms including a few firms of the Adani Group, Essar Group and Reliance ADAG Group among others for alleged over valuation of Indonesian coal imports and power equipment imports between 2011 and 2015.
The high court is likely to hear the PIL filed by Bhushan today.
According to the DRI, overvaluation of power equipment and coal has the effect of artificially raising the tariff values fixed by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) or the respective state regulatory commissions. This ultimately affects the consumers as they end up paying a higher cost for consumption of electricity.
The DRI has alleged that several coal traders are directly importing Indonesian coal to Indian ports but the invoices for such imports are “routed through one or more related/associated intermediary firms based abroad” after artificially inflating its value. To justify the inflated price of the coal, “manipulated test reports” of the quality of coal is submitted to public sector units and Indian Customs. This coal is then supplied to public sector coal based thermal power generation companies in India at the “artificially inflated import price and the inflated price is remitted from India to the intermediary firms abroad which remit only the actual price to the suppliers of the Indonesian coal and the balance is siphoned off elsewhere”.
The DRI is also investigating certain power firms for using the same modus operandi to over-value imported power plant equipment. The agency has already issued show-cause notices to two Adani Group firms and two Essar Group firms for over-invoicing power plant equipment to the tune of Rs 10,050 crore.