Thursday, December 22, 2016

No findings in Indian probe into fraud against Adani Group, coal project to net huge taxes: Australian minister

Way to the coalmining site in Australia
By Our Representative
The Australian government has brushed aside fresh allegations being made in the country's media on multiple financial crime and corruption probes Adani Group of companies for "siphoning" money offshore and artificially inflating power prices at the expense of Indian consumers, as nothing but “faking news”.
In an interview with the powerful Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Matthew Canavan, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia and a senator from Queensland province, where the Adani Group is going ahead with its $16 billion coalmining project, has said that “there are no findings at this stage on this investigation.”
In an effort to bail out the Adani Group, Canavan insists, “It's not unusual of course for tax authorities and others to investigate large companies, as it happened in this country with many companies and have involved large settlements with the Australian Taxation Office. ”
On being asked whether the Australian government was “aware of this investigation by the intelligence arm of the Indian Finance Ministry into the Adani Group”, Canavan says, he has asked his  department for advice about it as he does not know its status “apart from the fact that they remain allegations.”
“The biggest issue will be how do we get jobs and Adani and this project will create jobs”, the minister says, adding, he is “very confident that the Adani project. Hopefully it will happen, it will deliver billions of dollars of taxes to both the Queensland and Australian governments. ”
On being asked about why the Adani Group was being offered “$1 billion “taxpayer subsidized loan for the rail project part” of the Adani coalmining venture by the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility “when there are all these fraud investigations underway”, the minister says, he will “take advice” on the matter, but the Facility is an “independent skills-based board”, which will “make an assessment.”
On environmental concerns about the Adani Group's projects in India, the minister said, “Both the Queensland and Australian governments have looked at all of this extensively, indeed I remember this coming up in questioning to the Department of Environmenquestionedt when the approvals were made and I was comfortable with what the Department of Environment federally has looked at.”
The Australian government clarification came following an ABC investigation by business reporter Stephen Long, claimed to be based on a circular issued by India's Directorate of Revenue Intelligence obtained by ABC.
The report said, "Intelligence obtained by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence indicated that certain importers of Indonesian coal were artificially inflating its import value as opposed to its actual value."
“Five Adani Group companies are among a number of power companies named in the circular as under investigation”, the report said, adding, ”These include Adani Enterprises Ltd, the ultimate parent company of the Adani entity, which holds the environmental approvals for the planned Carmichael Coal Mine and a railway to the mine.”
“Adani Enterprises Ltd has also been accused of involvement in large-scale illegal iron ore exports and bribery of public officials”, the report said, adding, “According to a 2011 report by the ombudsman of the Indian State of Karnataka, obtained by the ABC, police seized documents from Adani Enterprises in raids which indicate that money has been regularly paid to port authorities, customs authorities, police department, mines and geology and even to MLAs/MPs".

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