Former Energy Secy Dr EAS Sarma smells scam in AP coal imports, demands CBI inquiry

By Jinka Nagaraju  Published on  17 Jan 2020 11:42 AM GMT
Former Energy Secy Dr EAS Sarma smells scam in AP coal imports, demands CBI inquiry

Hyderabad : In the light of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI ) filing an FIR against M/s Adani Enterprises and former officials of National Cooperative Consumers Federation (NCCF) over irregularities committed in the supply of coal to the Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation, Dr EAS Sarma, former Energy Secretary, GOI, demanded CBI inquiry into the very imports of coal by the AP Power utility.

The case against Adani Group and NCCF officials pertains to the supply of 6 lakh MTs of imported coal from Krishnapatnam port to Vijayawada and Muddanur (Kadapa) thermal plants. The CBI FIR alleged that NCCF officials colluded with Adani Group to award the contract even though the company was not eligible to participate in the bidding.

The former bureaucrat, who has been waging a relentless fight against the violation of rule of law in the state is apprehending a scam in coal imports itself in the form of over-invoicing by the coal suppliers, and excessive imports by the APGENCO. Writing a letter to Nilam Sawhney, Chief Secretary, Government of Andhra Pradesh, Dr Sarma emphasized the need to institute an urgent inquiry into all aspects of coal imports by APGENCO. He said the APGENCO is still importing the Coal.

“The reason that persuaded APGENCO to resort to such large scale coal imports in 2010, also prior to that year and even subsequent years to that year, in preference to getting coal from the Public Sector Coal India Limited (CIL) and Singareni, need to be investigated,” Dr Sarma wrote in the letter apprehending a possibility of collusion between officials and Private Power Produces and the coal suppliers.

Dr Sarma alleged that many companies having coal mines in Indonesia and elsewhere had over-invoiced coal supplies to APGENCO and others. Stating that the over-invoicing has been under CBI/Enforcement Directorate scrutiny, he asked the chief secretary if the state had ever approached the federal investigating agencies to safeguard state interests.

At one stage, the former IAS officer said private power producers in AP had prompted the AP GENCO to supply the coal from its own stocks and the GENCO had reportedly obliged them and resorted to coal imports.

He was of the opinion that electricity consumers of AP should not be allowed to bear the extra cost resulting from coal-imports scams.

“If the investigations establish irregularities or improprieties committed by public functionaries, an amount equivalent to the cost differential should be recovered along with penalty, and reimbursed to the consumers,” he suggested in the letter.

Dr Sarma hinted at a two-fold impropriety committed by APGENCO, that benefitted not only the private power producers in AP but also private suppliers of coal, imported from Indonesia and other sources.

He also brought how senior officials of APGENCO had overruled their juniors when the latter raised objections about coal imports, to the notice of chief secretary.

Dr Sarma, in fact, had written a letter to the CBI way back in January 2018 on the subject, and much to his chagrin, the CBI took almost 10 months to respond only to express its inability to take up the investigation as the then government led by chief minister Chandrababu Naidu had revoked general consent under DSPE Act for CBI to investigate cases in the state (GO MS No.176 )

Recalling this Dr Sarma again dashed off a letter to the CBI stating the AP state government has canceled blanket ban order (GO MS No.176) on June 6, 2019, and urged the CBI to launch a probe into the alleged over-invoicing by coal suppliers, and excessive imports of coal by APGENCO belatedly though.

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