New Delhi-based NGOs — Centre for Public Interest Litigation and Common Cause — on Wednesday moved the Delhi High Court seeking a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the alleged over-valuation of Indonesian coal and power equipment imports to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore by some of the country’s top power firms.
Alleging ‘over-invoicing running into thousands of crores’, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGOs, informed a division bench, headed by acting chief justice Gita Mittal and justice C Hari Shankar, that the cost of power equipment and fuel was being shown at 400% higher than the actual price. He also said that these firms were doing so to siphon off money to promoter companies registered in tax havens abroad.
However, justice Shankar recused himself from hearing the matter as he had appeared for some of these companies in the past. The matter has been now posted for hearing on September 20.
The PIL stated that the over-invoicing was reported by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), which found most of these over-invoicing instances were reported from the power sector, and that the impact would be felt by millions of consumers who may have to end up paying higher tariffs.
The DRI is currently investigating a dozen firms, including companies of the Adani Group, Essar Group and Reliance ADAG Group, among others for alleged over-valuation of Indonesian coal imports and power equipment imports between 2011 and 2015.