New Delhi: An investigation by The Reporters’ Collective, published by Al Jazeera, cites documents to reveal that Indian government granted an extraordinary favour to controversial tycoon Gautum Adani, boosting his coal business.
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office had ascertained that a particular regulation handing over coal blocks to the private sector was ‘inappropriate’ and lacked transparency, his government made an exception, the report says. It allowed Adani Enterprises Limited to mine from a block holding over 450 million tonnes of coal in one of India’s densest forest patches but disallowed other companies by changing the law.
The government didn’t explain why the Adani Group, owned by Gautum Adani, who until a recent stock market rout on allegations of accounting frauds by a US-based short-seller was the third-richest person in the world, was given an exception, show documents accessed by The Reporters’ Collective. Adani was given the exception under a regulation introduced by the Modi government following a Supreme Court ruling of 2014 that cancelled the allocations of 204 coal blocks.
This article is the second part of an investigation by The Reporters Collective. The first part looked at how the Narendra Modi government looked the other way when the country’s top auditor, the Comptroller and Auditor General, raised concerns about business groups deploying shell companies and colluding to corner India’s coal reserves.
The government allowed the RP-Sanjiv Goenka (RP-SG) group, a $4 billion revenue conglomerate with interests in power, IT, education, retail and media, to manipulate the auction for a coal mine in West Bengal.