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CESTAT Starts Hearing DRI Case Against Relief to Adani Group Cos

Accepting the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) plea to hear the cases against Adani group firms on a case-to-case basis, a Customs, Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) on Monday commenced its hearing on the appeal filed by the department against the relief granted to two of the Adani group companies by an order quashing over-invoicing allegations against the firms.

Earlier in August, the two companies namely Adani Power Maharashtra and Maharashtra Eastern Grid Power Transmission Company (MEGPTC) had moved CESAT seeking an early hearing in the matter stating that it had been getting enquiries from independent directors, auditors, financial institutions and lenders about the status of the case.

This was after the government in July told Lok Sabha that market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India and the DRI were probing some Adani group companies over alleged non-compliance.

Special counsel PRV Ramanan appearing for the department argued that the Adjudicating Authority (AA) while deciding the matter ‘muddled the two cases’ and did not appreciate the facts in the case independently. Ramanan argued that since CESTAT was the final fact-finding authority, it be in the interest of justice that the department be allowed to present the case against each firm separately.

The bench comprising President Justice Dilip Gupta and member (Technical) P Anjani Kumar allowed the DRI’s plea to be heard in the case against each firm separately. Following which advocate Ramana started arguing the DRI’s case against Adani Power Maharashtra.

Adani group was not immediately available for comment. At an earlier occasion while moving CESAT, an Adani group spokesperson told ET, “…. Adani Power Maharashtra (APML) and Adani Power Rajasthan (APRL) had filed early hearing application in February 2020 requesting CESTAT, Mumbai, to hear appeals filed by customs department at an earliest date. CESTAT, Mumbai, after hearing both the parties i.e. customs department as well as the said companies, vide order dated 26.07.2021 allowed the early hearing application and listed the matter for final hearing on 3.08.2021,” S-ET

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