National News Report

Reports: Adani Suspected Of Fraud By Selling Low-grade Coal At High Value

The Congress party has launched a strong attack on the Modi government following a media report alleging that the Adani Group engaged in fraudulent coal transactions with a Tamil Nadu public sector unit. According to reports, Adani Group passed off low-quality coal as high-priced cleaner fuel in dealings with the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO). The allegations were based on documents obtained by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and cited by the Financial Times.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi has claimed that a significant coal scam has been uncovered under the BJP government. He accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s close associate, Adani, of swindling thousands of crores of rupees by selling substandard coal at three times its actual price. Gandhi asserted that this scam has resulted in the public bearing the brunt through inflated electricity bills.

In response, the Congress party has promised to establish a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) within one month of an INDIA bloc government taking office to thoroughly investigate these allegations. The Adani Group has not yet responded to the latest accusations, though it has previously denied all such claims.

In a post in Hindi on X, Gandhi said, “Will the Prime Minister tell how many tempos were used to keep ED, CBI, and IT quiet on this open corruption? After June 4, an INDIA bloc government will investigate this mega scam and account for every penny looted from the public.”

Documents from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), reviewed by the Financial Times, suggest that Adani Group may have reaped large profits by passing off low-grade coal as a cleaner fuel, potentially worsening air quality by requiring more fuel to be burned for power generation.

According to Financial Times reports, Invoices show that in January 2014, Adani purchased an Indonesian shipment of coal said to contain 3,500 calories per kilogramme. The same shipment was sold to the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Company (Tangedco) as 6,000-calorie coal, one of the most valuable grades. Adani appears to have more than doubled its money in the process, after transport costs.

Reports also suggest that Adani Group may have inflated the grade of 22 coal shipments in 2014, involving 1.5 million tonnes of coal. Sourced from Indonesia, a known supplier of low-calorie coal, this fuel was allegedly sold to the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) as high-quality, expensive coal at prices three times higher than its actual value.

These revelations add a severe environmental angle to the accusations, as burning low-grade coal for power generation results in higher fuel consumption, further degrading air quality. According to a 2022 study in The Lancet, outdoor air pollution kills over 2 million people annually in India. Other studies have highlighted significant increases in child mortality around coal-fired power plants.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh commented on the allegations, stating that the momentum of revelations about the ‘Modani Mega Scam’ has accelerated alongside the INDIA coalition’s election campaign. The Congress party has vowed to establish a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) within one month of taking office to investigate these claims. The Adani Group has not yet responded to these latest accusations, although it has previously denied similar allegations.

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Ramesh Further alleged that Adani made excess profits of Rs 3,000 crore from this while the common person was made to suffer overpriced electricity and elevated air pollution,.”This is yet another example of the impunity with which the PM’s close friends have enriched themselves in the past decade by violating the law and exploiting the most vulnerable Indians as they are left to struggle for basic needs like cheap electricity and clean air,”.

Ramesh highlighted that air pollution, which claims 2 million lives annually in India, has been exacerbated by the fraudulent actions of the Adani Group. He remarked, “‘Amrit Kaal’ for the PM and his cronies is ‘Vish Kaal’ for everyone else,” suggesting that while the Prime Minister and his allies prosper, the general public suffers. He also accused the Prime Minister of obstructing investigations into Adani’s illicit activities. He asserted that information from Indonesia and other countries indicates how close Indian investigations were to uncovering the truth before PM Modi intervened to protect Adani.

The case involving the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence’s investigation into Adani’s coal over-invoicing has been stalled in the Supreme Court. However, documents from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) reveal the extent of over-invoicing and money laundering that has occurred for years.

Previous OCCRP investigations have implicated Adani associates Nasser Ali Shaban Ahli and Chang Chung-Ling in masterminding the coal over-invoicing scheme. Ramesh pointed out that these individuals used the proceeds to acquire illegal stakes in Adani Group companies, inflating their stock values. He contrasted this with other business figures who have faced severe consequences for similar, smaller-scale offences, But Modani suffers no consequences.

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