PANAJI: Indian investigators have asked the Supreme Court to allow them to collect evidence from Singapore, while also seeking to restart a probe into the Adani Group for alleged overvaluation of coal imports, according to a report published by the news agency Reuters.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence has been attempting to obtain Singaporean authority’s transaction documents pertaining to Adani’s business dealings since 2016.
The agency believes a large portion of the group’s coal imports from Indonesian suppliers were initially billed to its Singaporean subsidiary, Adani Global Pte, at a higher price on paper, and subsequently to its Indian arms.
The court documents reveal that Adani Enterprises and its subsidiaries, led by billionaire Gautam Adani, have successfully mounted several legal challenges in Singapore and India to prevent the release of the documents.
However, Adani, who says that Indian authorities evaluated its coal shipments before releasing them from ports, has denied any wrongdoing, Reuters reported.
In an October 9 legal filing, which Reuters is reporting for the first time, the revenue intelligence agency asked India’s Supreme Court to quash a previous lower court order that allowed Adani to block authorities from collecting evidence from Singapore.
The Indian officials refute Adani’s claims that the agency did not adhere to “due process,” stating in the filing that it was authorized by a mutual legal assistance treaty to request information from the Southeast Asian city-state.
Adani Group, in a statement to Reuters, said that it had ‘fully co-operated’ with the authorities by providing details and documents sought more than four years ago and that “no deficiency or objection” was communicated by investigators thereafter.
The attempt to resurrect the coal investigation coincides with increased regulatory scrutiny of Adani following Hindenburg Research’s January allegations of improper use of tax havens and stock manipulation against the tycoon and his conglomerate.
The revenue agency started examining Adani’s imports in 2014 as part of a larger probe into 40 businesses, as per Reuters reports.
Investigators claimed that by presenting bills of shipments that were routed through middlemen in Singapore and other locations, the companies importing Indonesian coal were over-invoicing deliveries.
A person with direct knowledge of the matter, on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters that the evidence India is seeking from Singapore authorities, which includes transaction documents from 20 of Adani’s banks there, could help establish a financial trail in the case.
In 2019, the High Court of Mumbai cited procedural lapses in quashing the request by Indian investigators to collect evidence against Adani. However, the Singapore court in 2020 said the documents should not be released for now because India’s top court had not reached a final decision.