Power Bills Rising While Adani Takes Money from India's Poorest: Rahul Gandhi

The Congress MP accused Adani of over-invoicing coal imports, and promised to probe the conglomerate if voted to power in next year’s general elections.

New Delhi: Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday (October 18) accused the Adani group of over-invoicing coal prices and taking money out of the pockets of poor people in the country.

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Gandhi cited a report by London-based financial daily, Financial Times, which had in a detailed investigation last week, titled, ‘The mystery of the Adani coal imports that quietly doubled in value’, found that Adani, “the country’s largest private coal importer, has been inflating fuel costs” leading to “millions of Indian consumers and businesses overpaying for electricity.”

“There is a story in the Financial Times, one of the pre-eminent financial newspapers in the world, where they are clearly stating that “Adani and the mysterious coal price rises”. Mr. Adani buys coal in Indonesia and by the time coal arrives in India, its prices doubles and he has taken approximately Rs 12,000 crores from the pockets of the poorest people in India. Our electricity prices are going up and Adani ji is over-invoicing while taking money from the pockets of the poorest people,” said Gandhi.

Gandhi said that while the FT story would “bring down any government”, Indian media has not picked up the story.

“Interesting question to me…the Financial Times has a huge story. This story would bring down any government. This is direct theft by a man, who has been protected again, and again, and again by the Prime Minister of India. And the surprising thing is, not a single Indian newspaper is interested in picking up the story, not a single media channel is interested in picking up the story,” he said.

“We are giving electricity subsidies in Karnataka, and going to do in Madhya Pradesh and while we are giving electricity subsidies, Mr. Adani is over invoicing coal and stealing directly from the people of India, and I don’t understand why the Prime Minister doesn’t comment on this. This cannot happen without the protection of the Prime Minister of India. It is impossible. So, the question is: why is there no action being taken on this gentleman?”

‘Will definitely get it done, why not?’

Earlier in January, US short-seller Hindenburg Research’s report alleged stock market manipulation by the Adani group and also raised questions about regulatory mechanisms in India. 

Stock market watchdog Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) came under fire even when the Supreme Court expert committee pointed to certain changes in rules that may have made it easier for Adani to escape scrutiny.

The Adani group has denied the charges and said it has been vindicated by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI’s) decision this year to withdraw an appeal to the Supreme Court in a case against one of the 40 importers named in 2016. 

It said, “The issue of overvaluation in the import of coal was conclusively settled by India’s highest court of law.”

When asked if the Congress party party will initiate a probe against the Adani group if voted to power next year, Gandhi said: “Will definitely get it done, why not?”

“Look, this is not about Adani ji, this Rs 32,000 crore has been stolen from the people of India, that is the issue and whoever steals Rs 32,000 crore will be investigated, why not?”

Responding to questions on Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar’s recent meetings with Adani, Gandhi said that Pawar is not the prime minister of India.

Pawar’s NCP wing is a member of the 26-party INDIA alliance which also includes the Congress. His meetings with Adani have also raised questions about variance in the opposition ranks, many of whom have demanded a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe against Adani.

“Sharad Pawar is not the Prime Minister of India. Sharad Pawar is not protecting Mr Adani, Mr Modi is and that is why, I ask Mr Modi this question and not Mr Sharad Pawar. If Mr,” he said.

“(If) Sharad Pawar was sitting as the Prime Minister of India, and if he was protecting Mr. Adani, then I would be asking Mr. Sharad Pawar that question.”