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CBI books Adani Enterprises, 3 ex-NCCF officials for alleged irregularities in coal supply contract

The CBI alleged that acts of ‘omission and commission’ by the NCCF officers disclose that they acted in a ‘manner as unbecoming of public servants’ and conspired with the company.

SNS | New Delhi |

The CBI has booked Ahmedabad-based Adani Enterprises Ltd and three former senior officials of the National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India (NCCF) for alleged corruption in the contract for the supply of 6 lakh MT of imported coal to Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation in 2010, officials said Thursday.

In its FIR filed on Wednesday after a detailed preliminary enquiry in the matter, the CBI booked Adani Enterprises Ltd, the then NCCF chairman Virender Singh, the then managing director G P Gupta and senior advisor SC Singhal under IPC sections related to alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating under Indian Penal Code and provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act, they said.

No immediate comment was available from Adani Enterprises Ltd, the flagship company for the Adani group.

It is alleged that the NCCF officers “committed irregularities by manipulating the selection of the bidders, thereby giving undue favour to Adani Enterprises Ltd. in award of work for supply of imported coal to APGENCO despite its disqualification.”

APGENCO had floated a limited tender inquiry on June 29, 2010 for the supply of six lakh MTs of imported coal via seaports to Narla Tata Rao Thermal Power Plant in Vijaywada and Rayalaseema Thermal Power Plant (RTPP) in Kadapa free-on-rail basis via ports of Chennai, Vizag, Krishnapatnam and Kakinada, they said.

NCCF, which was one of the PSUs approached by APGENCO, had shortlisted six companies for the contract through a tender issued on July 7, 2010, canceling the bid of a company Maharishi Brothers Coal Limited (MBCL) selected just six days before without any tendering process, the FIR alleged.

The argument given for the selection of MBCL was the close deadline of July 7, 2010, by APGENCO which was later extended to July 12. “It is pertinent to mention here that before extension of the date of tender they had seven days (July 01, 2010, to July 07.2010) and after extension of date they had five days only (July 08 to July 12, 2010) but now management felt that they have sufficient time to call open tender,” the CBI FIR alleged.

The draft tender notice on July 7 was discussed and approved by three senior officials of NCCF — Singhal, Gupta, and Singh — who ignored laid-down guidelines without consulting the Head Office level committee, it alleged.

The agency has alleged that during the tendering process, the officials favoured Adani Enterprises Ltd even though it had not given any trading margin for NCCF in contrast to two bidders Gupta Coal India and MBCL who had quoted much higher margins of 11.3 percent and 2.25 percent respectively, they said.

The CBI alleged that acts of “omission and commission” by the NCCF officers disclose that they acted in “a manner as unbecoming of public servants” and conspired with the company.

The FIR said the officers “committed irregularities by the way of manipulation in the selection of the bidders, thereby giving undue favour to Adani Enterprises Ltd. in award of work for supply of imported coal to APGENCO despite its disqualification”.

The CBI has alleged that senior officers of NCCF did post-tender negotiations with Adani Enterprises to give it undue benefits even though the company did not qualify when a tender was opened at Hyderabad office of NCCF, the officials said.

“Instead of canceling the bid of Adani Enterprises Ltd. senior management of NCCF conveyed the offer margin of NCCF to the company through one of its representatives Munish Sehgal who was sitting in the NCCF head office on July 10, 2010, in the evening…,” the FIR alleged.

It said subsequently Adani Enterprises Ltd on the same day informed NCCF that they agree to pay minimum margin charge of 2.25 percent to NCCF.

“It is prima facie evident that when the bids were being processed at NCCF HO. New Delhi. representative of Adani Enterprises was Informed regarding their imminent rejection due to non-submission of NCCF margin and also that MBCL, the eligible bidder had quoted 2 25 percent margin,” the FIR alleged.

The agency has also alleged that Vyom Trade Links was a proxy of Adani Enterprises which had given it an unsecured loan of Rs 16.81 crore and withdrew its offer at last stage on “flimsy grounds”.