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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Adani probe: Supreme Court stays Bombay HC order on DRI’s global info requests

An LR is a formal request seeking judicial assistance in accessing information on an offshore entity in connection with an ongoing probe.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: January 8, 2020 3:28:52 pm
Industrialist Gautam Adani in New Delhi (Express Photo by Anil Sharma)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the Bombay High Court order that quashed the Letters Rogatory (LRs) sent by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to foreign countries pertaining to alleged overvaluation of Indonesian coal imports from 2011 to 2015 by two Adani firms.

An LR is a formal request seeking judicial assistance in accessing the information on an offshore entity in connection with an ongoing probe.

In October last year, the Bombay High Court ruled in favour of Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL) and quashed all Letters Rogatory (LRs) sent by the DRI, halting the investigations by the agency which were going on since 2016.

The DRI was probing at least 40 companies including two companies of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG), two Essar Group firms and a few public sector power firms for alleged overvaluation of coal imports from Indonesia pegged at Rs 29,000 crore between 2011 and 2015.

A division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Bharati H Dangre, had allowed the writ petition filed by Adani Enterprises, saying that DRI cannot issue LRs under Section 166A of the Code of Criminal Procedure until a First Information Report (FIR) is registered in a case under Section 154/155 of the CrPC.

Replying to the Bombay HC, DRI that unlike with police officers, an investigation by officers of Customs, ED, Wildlife Crime Control and the SFIO under the Customs Act, Prevention of Money Laundering Act, Wildlife (Protection) Act and the Companies Act respectively, does not commence by registering FIRs or by seeking an order from a Magistrate.

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