The Bombay High Court on Thursday ruled in favour of the Adani group by quashing all letter rogatories (LRs) sent by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to several countries, including Singapore, against three group companies in an alleged case of overvaluation of Indonesian coal imports between 2011 and 2015.
A letter rogatory is usually sent by a country to another country, seeking help of foreign judicial authorities in investigating an offshore entity in connection with an ongoing probe.
A bench of justices Ranjit More and Bharati H Dangre allowed the writ petition filed by Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL), the flagship of the Adani group, that claimed the LRs were issued "without any notice and hearing the companies" and "no cognizance of any offence" under the Customs Act 1962 has been registered till now by the DRI against the group firms, reported The Indian Express.
Following the court order, the cases against Adani is likely to come to a halt. Apart from the Adani Group, at least 40 companies including Anil Ambani group, Essar group, Sajjan Jindal's JSW Energy and JSW Steel, Hyderabad- based NSL Group, India Cements apart from PSUs like sector NTPC, MMTC, Tamil Nadu SEB and Karnataka Power Corporation, face DRI probe for alleged overvaluation of coal imports from Indonesia.
In April 2018, the Customs, Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal had rejected a DRI plea seeking over Rs 29,000 crore from a clutch of these 40 companies for alleged overvaluation of coal imports from Indonesia between 2011 and 2015.
Last year, Adani Enterprises (AEL) had filed a plea in the Bombay High Court seeking quashing of all LRs against its firms that are under probe for alleged over-invoicing of Indonesian coal imports. The Bombay High Court gave an interim stay to AEL in September 2018, but the DRI moved the Supreme Court as its probe came to a halt, following the high court ruling. The apex court has now directed the high court to decide the case by the end of this month, as per the report.
The DRI had issued LRs to courts in Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and Indonesia to investigate cases of over-invoicing by some corporate groups including Adani Enterprises. The DRI had alleged that overvaluing of coal might have been done to help power companies get inflated tariffs for their generating stations.
Edited by Chitranjan Kumar