On Wednesday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi citing a media report, accused the Adani Group of over-invoicing in coal imports and fleecing people in electricity rates to the tune of Rs 12,000 crore.
While addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi, Gandhi trained his guns on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asked him to come clean on the Adani issue; he said this could be done by initiating a probe into the matter and defending his credibility.
Gandhi asked, “Why is the prime minister silent on the issue? I am only helping the prime minister and asking him to come clean by starting an investigation and defend his credibility.”
Displaying a recent Financial Times report, the former Congress chief said that the report claims the Adani Group appears to have imported billions of dollars of coal at prices which are well above the market value. Rahul Gandhi claimed that according to the report, Adani had over-invoiced coal imports and took out Rs 12,000 crore from “people’s pockets”.
Citing the report, Gandhi alleged that Adani had bought coal in Indonesia and its price doubled when it reached India. According to Gandhi, this over-invoicing of coal was having an impact on electricity rates in the country and leading to consumers paying higher electricity bills. Gandhi also said that this development would have brought down any government in the world; however, no action is being taken in India.
The former Congress head said, “Adani has full protection of the government, everyone knows which power is behind him.”
The main opposition Congress party has also been questioning the financial dealings of billionaire Gautam Adani’s group after the US research firm Hindenburg alleged “irregularities” and charged it with manipulation of stock prices.
Meanwhile, the Adani Group has claimed that there was no wrongdoing on its part and denied all the allegations made in the Hindenburg report. However, no immediate response was forthcoming from the group on the fresh allegations made against it.
The Adani Group is an Indian multinational conglomerate, headquartered in Ahmedabad. Founded by Gautam Adani in 1988 as a commodity trading business, the Group’s businesses include port management, electric power generation and transmission, renewable energy, mining, airport operations, natural gas, food processing and infrastructure. More than 60 percent of the Adani Group’s revenue is derived from coal-related businesses.
At its peak, Adani was the largest Indian conglomerate, surpassing Reliance Industries. It lost more than $104 billion in value after fraud and market manipulation allegations by short-seller firm Hindenburg Research. The Adani Group has also attracted other controversies due to reports of stock manipulation, accounting irregularities, cronyism, tax evasion, environmental damage, and suing journalists.
Adani Exports Limited started as a commodity trading company in 1988 and expanded into importing and exporting multiple commodities. With a capital of ₹5 lakh, the company was established as a partnership firm with the flagship company Adani Enterprises, previously Adani Exports. In 1990, the Adani Group developed its own port in Mundra to provide a base for its trading operations. It began construction at Mundra in 1995. In 1998, it became the top net foreign exchange earner for India Inc. The company began coal trading in 1999, followed by a joint venture in edible oil refining in 2000 with the formation of Adani Wilmar.
Adani handled 4 Mt of cargo at Mundra in 2002, becoming the largest private port in India. Later in 2006, the company became the largest coal importer in India with 11 Mt of coal handling. The company expanded its business in 2008, purchasing Bunyu Mine in Indonesia which has 180 Mt of coal reserves. In 2009, the firm began generating 330 MW of thermal power. It also built an edible oil refining capacity in India of 2.2 Mt per annum.