Congress leader Jairam Ramesh addresses a press conference, in New Delhi on Sept 3, 2018.. Image Source: IANS

New Delhi, Sep 17 : Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his "industrialist friend" Gautam Adani, the Congress on Monday asked the Centre to strongly contest the Adani group's plea in the Bombay High Court regarding an alleged Rs 29,000-crore scam of over-valuing coal imports.

The Congress, which has been seeking a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the scam, demanded that the Modi government appoint a special counsel as the High Court is slated to hear on Wednesday a plea to seek quashing of all Letters Rogatory (LRs) issued by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence against the group.

Accusing the Centre of extending "undue favours" to the Adani group, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh claimed that the DRI's request to the Central government for appointing a special counsel was being neglected.

"The Modi government keeps on asserting about its clean intentions. So, it should display that intention by accepting the DRI's request to field a special counsel to assert that the LRs are imperative to probe the group's complicity in the coal import scam," Ramesh told the media here.

The DRI had alleged that 40 companies, including those from the Adani group, had inflated price of coal imported from Indonesia so as to siphon money abroad and avail of higher power tariff compensation.

The group moved the High Court in August after a Singapore court rejected its plea for a stay to produce documents pertaining to coal imports.

Ramesh claimed that the Modi government's motto is "privatisation of profits and nationalisation of losses", adding that probe into the group's financial irregularities had been stalled by the Centre.

"Modi's much touted slogan of 'minimum government, maximum governance' has now given way to privatisation of profits and nationalisation of losses wherein companies are allowed to make profits and recover their loses at the cost of public exchequer and the common people.

"Almost 80 per cent of India's coal imports is done by the Adani group. The DRI has indicted the group in the scam, yet the government is not showing any inclination to secure the documents that are imperative for probing this scam. There can be no bigger example of crony capitalism," said Ramesh.

He accused the BJP government in Gujarat of "working on the directions of the Modi regime to provide relief" to power companies owned by Adani, Tatas and Essar.

"Despite the Supreme Court ruling against the power companies demand to increase tariffs agreed upon in power purchase agreements (PPA), a state government appointed committee has recommended revision in the tariff structure.

"Because of this relief by the Gujarat government, the Adani, Tata and Essar groups will reap profit of Rs 1,30,000 crore in 30 years. The burden of this huge profit will be put on banks and consumers. This is nothing but privatisation of profits and nationalisation of losses," added Ramesh.

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