the Modi administration's choices allowed the Adani Group to continue
Documents have revealed that Gautam Adani received an unprecedented favour from Narendra Modi’s government that helped his coal firm generate profits.
An exemption was made by the government after his office determined that specific legislation transferring coal blocks to the private market was “inappropriate” and lacked transparency.
It permitted one of India’s densest forest sections, where Adani Enterprises had a block with more than 450 million tonnes of coal, to be mined.
In response to a 2014 Supreme Court decision that invalidated the allocations of 204 coal blocks, the Modi government established a policy that exempted his organisation.
According to the court, several of the blocks had been illegally assigned to businesses owned by state governments.
These businesses have been turning over the profitable mining industry to private organisations at secret pricing through hidden contracts.
One such contract was awarded to The Adani Group in July 2008.
All of the coal blocks and mining contracts that had been awarded were revoked by the court when it determined that this had occurred without legal permission, requiring the firms to surrender them.
Yet, the Modi administration’s choices allowed the Adani Group to continue mining coal unhindered by the court judgement and the government’s own policy choices that disadvantaged many other private firms.
The Adani Group’s corporate wealth has grown concurrently with Modi’s political influence.
More than 80 million tonnes of coal have been extracted from the block so far by the firm.
A new administration led by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was elected in 2014 thanks to a surge of anti-corruption sentiment.
The previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was embroiled in a tangle of news stories, auditor reports and legal proceedings alleging widespread corruption and bribery in two distinct industries.
The two industries were the distribution of coal blocks to private miners and the allocation of airwave spectrum to telecom companies.
The coal blocks issue was labelled as ‘Coalgate’.
The UPA administration distributed coal mines to businesses through a secretive, selective process while applying a low royalty rate, as opposed to auctioning them to maximise income.
The government accounts were reviewed by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), who concluded that this strategy had resulted in a net loss to the treasury of $22 billion.
Throughout his political campaigns leading up to the 2014 national elections, Modi criticised the UPA administration.
On September 13, 2012, he tweeted: “Coal scam has darkened the face of the entire nation.”
His government decided to “transparently” re-auction the coal mines after winning the elections.