The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted interim relief to the Adani group by restraining the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) from giving effect to the letters rogatory (LRs) issued to several countries against three group companies in an alleged case of overvaluation of Indonesian coal imports in the past.
A bench of justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre restrained the DRI from acting upon or giving effect to the LRs and directed it to file a detailed reply on a plea filed by Adani Enterprises, the flagship of the Adani group, against the agency.
A letter rogatory is usually sent by a country to seek help of foreign judicial authorities in investigating an offshore entity.
Last month, Adani Enterprises 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.
In April 2018, the Customs, Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal had rejected a DRI plea seeking over Rs 50,000 crore from a clutch of 40 companies including Adani group, Essar group, Anil Ambani 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 among others.
The DRI investigation, started in 2009 and is still continuing, alleges over-invoicing of imported coal and power-plant equipment cumulatively amounted to around Rs 50,000 crore prior to 2008.
Of this coal imports accounted for around Rs 29,000 crore, while power-plant equipment imports and "compensatory tariffs" claimed by a few companies is around Rs 21,000 crore.
Since May 2014, the DRI has issued demand notice worth Rs 6,000 crore from three Adani group firms-- Adani Power Maharashtra, Adani Power Rajasthan, and Maharashtra Eastern Grid Power Transmission Company.
The group is also accused of overvaluing power-plant equipment to the tune of to the tune of Rs 3,974 crore.
Earlier this year, the DRI had issued LRs to courts in Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and Indonesia to investigative cases of over-invoicing by some corporate groups including Adani Enterprises.
As per the DRI, such overvaluing of coal might have been done to help power companies get inflated tariffs for their generating stations.
Earlier this year, following the LRs, a Singapore court had asked the Adani group to produce documents pertaining to Indonesian coal imports under the ongoing probe by the DRI.Adani Enterprises appealed to the Singapore high court against the lower court order but was denied relief. It then approached the Bombay HC seeking quashing of the LRs.