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CBI files FIR against Adani Enterprises, NCCF officials

They are accused of corruption in coal supply contract

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked Adani Enterprises Limited, the then chairman and two other top former officials of the National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India Limited (NCCF) for alleged corruption and cheating in the award of a contract for supply of imported coal to the Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation (APGENCO).

Among those named as accused in the FIR are the then NCCF chairman Virender Singh, managing director G.P. Gupta, senior adviser S.C. Singhal, Adani Enterprises and other unknown public servants. NCCF is a public sector undertaking.

The case has been instituted following a preliminary enquiry initiated in 2017 on a complaint from a deputy secretary to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs. It pertains to a limited tender enquiry floated by APGENCO on June 29, 2010, for supply of six lakh tonnes of imported coal. The supplies were meant for two power stations at Vijayawada and Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh.

The day the tender enquiry was floated, it was forwarded to PEC Limited, STC Limited, MSTC Limited, NCCF-Hyderabad, MMTC-Hyderabad, Coal India Limited and SCCL. The NCCF’s Hyderabad unit, on receipt of the enquiry, sent it by fax to senior adviser S.C. Singhal for further action.

It is alleged that the NCCF head office, instead of starting the process for floating an open tender to call for bids, selected Maharishi Brothers Coal Limited (MBCL) to supply coal at a margin of 2.25%. However, after APGENCO extended the due date for submitting the tender for a few days, and the work awarded to MBCL was cancelled on that pretext.

Stating that there was now sufficient time to go for an open tender, the top NCCF officials held a meeting and approved a draft tender notice, deciding that the Hyderbabad office would open the offers till 1 p.m. on July 10, 2010.

Anomalies in draft notice

As alleged, there were several irregularities in finalising the draft tender notice. No head office-level committee was constituted by the managing director; and the draft tender file was not sent to the finance division for concurrence. All decisions were taken as per the mutual understanding of the accused officials.

The Hyderabad office received bids from six contenders: Adani Enterprises, MBCL, Vyom Trade Links Private Limited, Swarana Projects, Gupta Coal India Limited and Kyori Oremin Limited. When the tender was opened, no representative of Vyom turned up.

Gupta Coal quoted the NCCF margin of 11.3% and MBCL quoted it as 2.25%. However, Adani Enterprises, Vyom Trade Link, Kyori Oremin did not quote any margin allegedly in violation of bidding conditions. Bids of Gupta Coal, Kyori and Swarana Projects were rejected as they did not fulfil tender requirements.

‘Undue favours’

It is alleged that the post-tender negotiation was also done by NCCF officials to give undue favours to Adani Enterprises, which was not qualified when the tender was opened. However, instead of cancelling its bid, the officials allegedly alerted the company — through its representative present at the NCCF head office on July 10, 2010 — that it also had to provide details of the margin on offer.

Subsequently, Adani Enterprises informed the NCCF that it had agreed to pay a minimum margin of 2.25%. The CBI alleges that the representative was also apparently told that MBCL, an eligible bidder, had quoted 2.25% margin.

The agency found that Adani Enterprises had given an unsecured loan of ₹16.81 crore to Vyom Trade Links in 2008-09. Bank guarantees of both the companies were issued by the same bank and at the same time. Therefore, the CBI alleges that Adani Enterprises had presented Vyom Trade Links as a proxy in the tender process. The second company withdrew its offer on a very flimsy ground, as alleged.

According to the FIR, when the issue of award of supply order to APGENCO came before the NCCF business committee, Mr. Gupta had misled it about the publication of tender notice in newspapers.

An Adani group spokesperspon said: “There is a news item about lodging of an FIR by CBI against National Cooperative Consumer Federation and Adani Enterprises Ltd. related to supply of imported coal. The subject matter is an old one. Adani Enterprises Ltd. has complied with the process, all formalities and relevant laws for the subject supply of coal. The company has not done anything wrong in supply of coal. It’s a preliminary investigation report only. The Company shall respond to the same and shall also put forth the factual position to the authority.”

 

Adani Spokesperson adds:

There is a news item about lodging of an FIR by CBI against National Cooperative Consumer Federation and Adani Enterprises Ltd. related to supply of imported coal. The subject matter is an old one.

Adani Enterprises Ltd. has complied with the process, all formalities and relevant laws for the subject supply of coal. The company has not done anything wrong in supply of coal.

It's a preliminary investigation report only. The company shall respond to the same and shall also put forth the factual position to the authority.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 5:28:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cbi-files-fir-against-adani-enterprises-nccf-officials/article30579751.ece

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