Coal import case: SC notice to Adani Group on DRI's appeal

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 09, 2020 13:49 hrs
Coal Mine (AP photo)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to Adani Enterprises on an appeal by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) in a matter connected with the alleged over-invoicing of Indonesian coal imports.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde stayed the Bombay High Court order that quashed letter rogatories (LR) which sought information from foreign countries on the import of coal by Adani. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for DRI contended before the apex court that the investigation into the matter should continue. The DRI is probing nearly 40 companies for overvaluation of imports.

A letter rogatory is usually sent by a country to another country to seek assistance with help of foreign judicial authorities to investigate an offshore entity, which is believed to have a connection with an ongoing probe.

The Bombay High Court in October last year quashed all the LRs sent by DRI to Singapore and other countries in its probe on Adani group firms for allegedly over-invoicing the coal imported from Indonesia between 2011 and 2015.

The High Court observed that it did not go into the merits of the LR issued by the magistrate, but found the due process was not undertaken while issuing these letters.

The DRI vehemently opposed the High Court order and sought its stay as the investigation is underway. In September last year, Adani Enterprises Limited moved the High Court seeking quashing of the LRs which were issued in 2016.

The DRI in March 2016 initiated investigation against a few Adani group firms for allegedly over-invoicing coal imports from Indonesia. The LRs were issued to Singapore, Dubai and Hong Kong, seeking assistance in accessing documents in possession of three state-owned banks in connection with the transactions under investigation.