Janardan Choudhary, a major advisor to Adani Green Energy Limited (AGEL), is now a member of one of the Expert Appraisal Committees (EAC) of the Centre, which approves proposals for hydroelectricity projects like those made by AGEL. This development which came out in a report by The Indian Express on Tuesday, 14 November, has raised questions about possible conflicts of interest.
Given that the EAC is currently reviewing a number of AGEL's hydro project applications, Choudhary's appointment by the Union Environment Ministry to the hydroelectricity and river valley projects subcommittee has garnered notice.
These include projects for 850 MW Raiwada and 1800 MW Pedakota in Andhra Pradesh, as well as 2100 MW Patgaon, 2,450 MW Koyna-Nivakane, 1500 MW Malshej Ghat Bhorande, and 1500 MW Tarali in Maharashtra, according to the report.
The closing price of Adani Green Energy stock was Rs 939.65 on 14 November, representing a decrease of 0.79 per cent. The net change in price is -7.5, as compared to the previous day's closing price of Rs 947.15.
The report states that on 17 October, Choudhary was present at the inaugural meeting of the reconstituted EAC. On that day, AGEL's 1500 MW Tarali Pumping Storage Project in Maharashtra was reviewed. AGEL requested a modification to the project's Terms of Reference in order to change the layout, and ultimately, the Adani Group was recommended to proceed with the change by the EAC.
Although Choudhary says he did not participate in the conversation, the report points out that this is not included in the minutes of the EAC meeting, which is what prompted him to tell the outlet that they will be corrected.
Experts have highlighted the need to address the larger issue of such appointments becoming routine in appraisal panels, raising questions about the impartiality of the appraisal process due to the possible conflict of interest.