Ahead Of SC Hearing, Adani Group Says Bid To Tarnish Reputation By Foreign Entities

Adani Group accused a foreign publication of selectively misrepresenting publicly available facts and information, and deliberately suppressing judicial decisions to arrive at a predetermined conclusion.
Adani Group stocks
Adani Group stocks

Adani Group on Monday said some foreign entities are continuing orchestrated attacks by rehashing old and baseless allegations to drag down its market value and tarnish the conglomerate's image ahead of the Supreme Court hearing.

The Supreme Court slated a hearing for this week on markets regulator SEBI's investigation into allegations of financial fraud and stock manipulation against Adani Group. The group has denied all allegations.

Having failed earlier, a foreign publication is "making another effort to financially destabilise the Adani Group by raking up an old, baseless allegation of over-invoicing of coal imports," Adani Group said in a statement.

It said the proposed story by the publication is based on the DRI's General Alert Circular dated March 30, 2016.

However, the publication has "singled out the Adani Group, while the DRI's circular mentions as many as 40 importers including the Adani Group companies," the statement said.

"This list not only includes some of India's major private power generators like Reliance Infra, JSW Steel and Essar but also state power generating companies of Karnataka, Gujarat, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, etc and NTPC and MSTC."

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) in the circular had alleged Adani Group companies over-valued equipment and machinery imported from a United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based entity. It reportedly suspected some of the funds used in those transactions may have found their way back into the Adani Group's listed companies.

The Customs, Excise & Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) had however quashed the case. DRI went in for an appeal but the Supreme Court this year dismissed its petition.

Adani Group in the statement said the DRI's show cause notice alleging over-valuation in the import of coal was quashed by the appellate tribunal (CESTAT).

"Further, the DRI's appeal was dismissed as withdrawn by the Supreme Court of India on January 24, 2023 with the observation that "we appreciate the stand taken by the government in not entering into futile litigation"."

"Clearly, the issue of overvaluation in the import of coal was conclusively settled by India's highest court of law," the statement said.

Adani Group said the foreign publication is "recycling" and "selectively misrepresenting" publicly available facts and information with "a deliberate and mischievous suppression of judicial decisions to arrive at a predetermined conclusion."

"It shows scant respect for India's regulatory and judicial processes and authorities. It also deliberately ignores the fact that coal procurement in India on long-term supply basis is done through an open, transparent, global bidding process thereby eliminating any possibility of price manipulation," it said.

Tariff fixation by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) is an open, transparent, independent process where the tariffs are fixed after carefully evaluating all variables and in consultations with the power generator, distributor and retail consumers, it said adding the multiple stakeholders have multiple opportunities to look at all aspects determining the tariffs, including the import value of coal.

"Hence the question of over invoicing or price manipulation does not arise," it added. "It is not mere coincidence that such stories have an uncanny ability to appear just before the hearing dates of important cases in India's courts."

Adani Group said while it denies all such allegations as false and baseless, it also condemns such deliberate, and motivated attempts to destabilise the Adani Group. "We are a law-abiding company which is fully compliant with all rules, regulations and disclosure requirements with full respect for the rule of law."

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