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CBI files case against Adani Ent. Ltd, NCCF officials

The same was forwarded by the Chief Engineer, APGENCO to seven PSUs — PEC Limited, STC Limited, MSTC Limited, NCCF, MMTC, Coal India Limited and SCCL Limited.

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New Delhi, Jan 16 : In trouble brewing for the Gautam Adani-led M/S Adani Enterprises, the Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday said it has registered a case against former officials of the National Co-operative Consumer Federation (NCCF) and others over alleged irregularities in supply of coal to the Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation (APGENCO) in 2010.

The CBI in its FIR has named Virendra Singh, the then Chairman of the NCCF, G.P. Gupta, the then MD of the NCCF, S.C. Singhal, the then Senior Advisor of NCCF, Adani Enterprises Ltd and other unknown public servants and others for criminal conspiracy, cheating and criminal misconduct by public servants.

According to CBI, the case was filed on Wednesday after the preliminary enquiry revealed the crime by the officials named in the FIR and the Adani Enterprises was found to be true.

The FIR alleged that on June 26, 2010, APGENCO floated a tender enquiry for supply of six lakh metric tonnes of imported coal “on free on rail destination” basis to Dr Narla Tata Rao Thermal Station (NTTPS), Vijaywada and Rayalasaleema Thermal Power Plant (RTTP), Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh/RTPP via Kakinada-Vizag-Chennai-Krishnapatnam or any other ports.

The same was forwarded by the Chief Engineer, APGENCO to seven PSUs — PEC Limited, STC Limited, MSTC Limited, NCCF, MMTC, Coal India Limited and SCCL Limited.

The FIR alleged that during the probe, the Adani Enterprises used a proxy company to get the supply contract. It said, “NCCF received bids from six companies — Adani Enterprises Ltd, Maheshwari Brothers Coal Limited (MBCL), Vyom Trade Links Pvt. Ltd, Swarana Projects Pvt. Ltd, Gupta Coal India Ltd and Kyori Oremen Ltd.

During investigation it was found that Gupta Coal India Ltd had quoted the NCCF margin of 11.3 per cent, while the MBCL quoted the margin of 2.25 per cent and rest did not quote any margin to the NCCF.

The FIR said the quotes of the Gupta Coal India Ltd, Kyori Oremen Ltd and Swarana Projects Pvt. Ltd were rejected by the NCCF as they were not found to be fulfilling the tender conditions.

“Post tender negotiation was done by senior officials of NCCF to give undue favour to Adani Enterprises Ltd despite it not qualifing the tender (terms),” the FIR said, adding instead of cancelling the bid of Adani Enterprise Ltd, senior management of NCCF conveyed the offer margin to the company through one of its representative — Munish Sehgal, who was sitting in the NCCF head office.

“It is prima facie evident that when the bids were being processed at NCCF head office in Delhi, a representative of Adani Enterprises Ltd. was informed regarding their imminent rejection due to non-submission of NCCF margin and also that MBCL was eligible bidder quoted 2.25 per cent margin,” it alleged.

The CBI in FIR further alleged that Adani Enterprises Ltd. had given an unsecured loan of Rs 16.81 crore to Vyom Trade Links Ltd in 2008-09. “And further it was revealed that the bank guarantees of the Adani Enterprises Ltd. and Vyom Trade Links Ltd. were issues by the same branch of the State Bank of India and at the same time,” it said.

“It was clear that Adani Enterprises Ltd. presented Vyom Trade Links Ltd. as a proxy company in this particular tender and Vyom Trade Links Ltd. later withdrew its offer on flimsy ground,” the CBI FIR said.

“The aforesaid acts of commissions and omissions on the part of the senior management of the NCCF disclose that during their tenure, they acted in a manner unbecoming of public servants and committed irregularities by way of manipulation in the selection of bidders, thereby giving undue favours to Adani Enterprises Ltd. in award of work for supply of coal to APGENCO despite its disqualification,” it added.

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F-35 has no chance against a drone fighter plane: Elon Musk

The US Air Force successfully tested an advanced, jet-powered drone called the XQ58-A Valkyrie recently that could accompany human-piloted fighter jets on missions.

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San Francisco, Feb 29: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is confident that the traditional warfare era is long over and the future belongs to drone fighter planes that will dominate the sky and F-35 fighter jets will have nowhere to go.

Addressing the gathering at Air Warfare Symposium organised by the US Air Force in Florida on Friday, Musk said the age of fighter jets dominating the sky is over.

“For the air domain… things are definitely going to go into, kind of… locally autonomous drone warfare… is where the future will be… It’s not I want the future to be this, this is what the future will be, autonomous drone warfare…,” The Drive reported Musk as saying.

“Drones locally will be autonomous, but I think we still want to retain the authority to damage or destroy anything that isn’t an autonomous drone. Keep the authority back there with a person in the loom. The fighter jet era has passed. It’s drones,” Musk added.

Later, in a tweet, the SpaceX founder said: “The competitor should be a drone fighter plane that’s remote controlled by a human, but with its maneuvers augmented by autonomy. The F-35 would have no chance against it”.

He stressed that F-35 stealth jet “would have no chance” against a drone remotely piloted by a human.

The US Air Force successfully tested an advanced, jet-powered drone called the XQ58-A Valkyrie recently that could accompany human-piloted fighter jets on missions.

The autonomous unmanned vehicle, can play a key role in electronic warfare, strike and surveillance on the battlefield.

According to New Atlas, the Valkyrie can carry a small payload of smart bombs, and has a range of just under 2,500 miles. The F-16 Fighting Falcon tops out at just over 2,600 miles while the F-22 Raptor has a range of over 1,800 miles.

Musk also discussed about making a Starfleet real at the symposium.

“How do we make Starfleet real?” he asked, stressing that reusable launch vehicles are “absolutely fundamental” to achieving whatever space ambitions the military might have, including staying ahead of China.

“I think we can go a long way to make Starfleet real and these utopian futures real”.

“The foundation of war is economics. If you have half the resources of the counter-party then you better be real innovative because [otherwise] we’re going to lose� The US will be, militarily, second,” Musk said.

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Mukesh Ambani named world’s ninth richest, with 2 others

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New Delhi, Feb 28 Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) chief Mukesh Ambani is the ninth richest person in the world along with Steve Ballmer of Microsoft and Larry Page of Google, each having a net worth of $67 billion, according to the Hurun Global Rich List 2020.

Ambani, 62, maintained a place in the top 10 for the second time after a $13 billion or 24 per cent surge in his wealth to $67bn.

“The only Asian in the Top 10, Ambani’s wealth increased mainly on the back of a good performance in his telecom business,” the Hurun Rich List said.

Ambani is restructuring Reliance Industries to facilitate the planned strategic investments in group businesses – Reliance Jio, Reliance Retail, refining and petrochemicals. The conglomerate aims to be a zero net debt company in 18 months and is in discussion to sell 20 per cent oil-to-chemicals business to Saudi Aramco, at an enterprise value of $75 billion. RIL became the first Indian company to hit the milestone of achieving Rs 10 lakh crore market capitalisation.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos retains the top spot in the Hurun Global Rich List 2020 with $140 billion, down $7 billion, mainly due to the world’s largest divorce settlement with former wife MacKenzie Bezos, who makes the list in her own right with $44 billion.

Amazon is one of four companies, whose valuations have hit $1 trillion, the others being Microsoft, Apple and Google. Bezos bought a $165 million home, setting a new record for Los Angeles. In February, he pledged $10 billion to help fight climate change.

Bill Gates, dropped down to third place on the Hurun Global Rich List 2020, with $106 billion, despite growing his wealth $10 billion or 10 per cent. Last month, Gates announced a $100 million commitment to fight coronavirus which has triggered a global health emergency.

Over the past two decades, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given out more than $50 billion to global health and education.

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Govt caught ‘Karo Na’ virus: Congress makes jibe on economy

The Congress alleged that the BJP government is ignoring all the alarming econmic indicators.

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Randeep Surjewala

New Delhi, Feb 28 : The Congress once again took a jibe on the government, saying that under it, the economy has got infected by “Karo Na” (Don’t do anything) virus.

In a statement, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said “The latest GDP numbers reflect that “Karo-na” (Don’t do anything) virus has plagued the functioning of the BJP government.”

“The economy is in shambles, stagflation is there, every indicator of economy is showing a downward trend, yet the government continues to function as an ostrich.”

The Congress alleged that the BJP government is ignoring all the alarming econmic indicators.

To bolster his claim, Surjewala shared the figures of the quarter, saying: “The GDP in the third quarter i.e. December 2019 was recorded to be 4.7 per cent and GVA was at 4.5 per cent.”

Another spokesperson Gaurav Ballabh, a professor in a management college, said, “Manufacturing growth is minus 0.2 per cent (during Q3) which clearly indicates that there’s no improvement in the demand.”

He also gave example of the real estate sector as he said that it is at an all time high stress with more than 12 lakh units lying unsold and there are no signs of revival as of now.

The party said the demand and consumption sentiments are still low despite so-called stimulus by the government in September 2019 and the Budget 2020-21 which shows that the government is not concerned.

Exports are significantly low and industries are under stress which is clearly visible in the umemployment rate. The government is doing nothing to stop this unabted risk in the country, the party said.

The economy is in a huge risk as capital formation is at a negative of 5.2 per cent clearly indicating that there’s no positive outlook for investments.

“Does government wants to manage the numbers through unclear revisions? Why aren’t they coming out with the truth? It’s not the 20 basis point improvement, which will improve the sentiments, rather action should be taken with right intent,” said Surjewala.

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