Saturday, February 27, 2010

Adani Enterprise Limited MD arrested by CBI, Granted Bail

Adani Enterprise Limited, the fastest emerging group of Gujarat is in trouble in the spate of Custom Duty evasion cases. In one such case Goa CBI issued arrest note to one of its Managing Director Rajesh Adani.
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Rs 30,000-crore diversified conglomerate, Adani group received a jolt on Saturday when the Goa wing of CBI arrested one of its Managing Director, Rajesh Adani in a two year old case of custom duty evasion of Rs 80 Lakh.

In the operation started early morning CBI arrested the younger brother of AEL chairman Gautam Adani. The transaction under the scanner is the import of naphtha and furnace oil worth Rs 50 crore by the petroleum division of Adani Export for Ganesh Benjoplast.

"Adani had in the year 2006-07 imported naptha, a petroleum product, and did not pay customs duty in Goa. A case was registered in January 2008 by the Goa Anti-Corruption Bureau of the CBI against him and nine customs officials. The case was also registered against Adani Exports and Ganesh Benjoplast. Adani Export is now Adani Enterprise Limited.

The alleged duty evasion involves charges of mis-declaration and falsifying information to evade duty among others. It could not have been possible without the involvement of custom department’s own officials. The CBI is looking into whether any other employees of the diversified group are also involved.

Adani Enterprises Limited managing director, 45-year-old Rajesh Adani has been involved with the group since its inception in 1988 and holds key positions in several other group companies like Adani Power and Mundra Port and Special Economic Zone and Adani Wilmar, besides handling crucial portfolios in AEL.

Later in the evening the company in a statement said,"Adani Enterprise Ltd petroleum products division had made arrangements, in the normal course of business, to import certain petroleum products in 2005-06 and 2006-07 on behalf of licence and permission holders." These licence and permission holders were responsible for fulfilling all formalities and payment of duties, it said. “Rajesh Adani was not responsible for any day-to-day business operation,” it added.

The group spokesman claimed that the CBI had issued an arrest memo for Adani without providing any reason or detail. The customs department had neither served any notice nor filed any case against either the company or Adani.

The Gujarat High Court Justice Rekha Doshi granted interim bail on the basis of habeas corpus after the group’s legal counsel moved a plea for interim bail. Mr Adani would present himself before a court in Goa for further proceedings.

Adani is also facing issues with Ahmedabad and Goa branches of Customs Department and Enforcement Directorate, Bangalore. Besides this AEL is also facing criticism from Gujarat Congress leaders due to their closeness to former Chief Minister and BJP leader Keshubhai Patel in whose regime Adani group got maximum approvals from the state government.