The Adani Enterprises Ltd, the flagship company of the Adani Group, has been booked by the CBI for bagging a government contract for supply of imported coal in 2010, allegedly in a fraudulent manner.
The AEL has been named in the CBI FIR along with three top officials of National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India Ltd (NCCF), a government-owned cooperative society, and unknown public servants for alleged corruption.
According to CBI, Adani Enterprises was given the contract not only in violation of tender conditions but officials of NCCF even revealed to it bid details of another company to help it quote the same margin for supply of coal.
A spokesperson for the Adani Group said: “Adani Enterprises Ltd has complied with the process, all formalities and relevant laws for the subject supply of coal. 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 NCCF officials booked include then chairman Virender Singh, then MD G P Gupta and then senior advisor S C Singhal. The CBI alleged that the three officials took the decision of issuing tenders unilaterally without consulting a committee appointed for the purpose.
In its FIR, the CBI said: “They had acted in a manner unbecoming of public servants, and in criminal conspiracy with other accused persons committed irregularities by the way of manipulation in the selection of the bidders, thereby giving undue favour to M/s Adani Enterprises Ltd in award of work for supply of imported coal to Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation (APGENCO) despite its disqualification.”
According to CBI, APGENCO floated a tender on June 29, 2010 for supply of 6 lakh MTs of imported coal on free-on-rail basis to certain thermal power plants in Vijayawada, Rayalaseema and Kadapa. Initially, the three top NCCF officials selected Maharishi Brothers Coal Limited (MBCL) without floating an open tender. But when APGENCO extended the bid submission date from July 7 to July 12 that year, NCCF then decided to go for open tender as they said they now had more time.
The CBI questioned this, saying when they had seven days they did not go for an open tender but when it was extended by just five days, they decided go for open tender.
On July 10, 2019, NCCF received bids from six bidders including Adani. While MBCL quoted a margin of 2.25%, Adani and three others did not quote any margin. Further, three bids — of M/s Gupta Coal India Limited, M/s Kyori Oremin Ltd & M/s Swarana Projects Pvt Ltd, Hyderabad — were rejected by NCCF as they were not found to be fulfilling tender conditions, the CBI said.
“M/s Adani Enterprises Ltd did not qualify when the tender was opened at Hyderabad Branch. Instead of cancelling the bid of M/s Adani Enterprises Ltd, senior management of NCCF conveyed the offer margin of NCCF to M/s Adani Enterprises Ltd through one of its representative i.e. Shri Munish Sehgal who was sitting in the NCCF Head Office on 10.07.2010 in the evening… subsequently, M/s Adani Enterprises Ltd. vide its letter dated 10.07.2010 addressed to Branch Manager, NCCF, Hyderabad with copy to MD, NCCF, New Delhi informed that they agree to pay minimum service margin/charges @ 2.25% to NCCF,” the CBI said.
It said this prima facie makes it evident that when the bids were being processed at the NCCF head office in New Delhi, “representative of Adani Enterprises was informed regarding their imminent rejection due to non submission of NCCF margin & also that M/s MBCL, the eligible bidder, has quoted 2.25% margin”.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines