The Congress on Wednesday promised that if it comes to power, it will set up a joint parliamentary committee to investigate allegations that the Adani Group fraudulently sold low-grade coal as high-grade coal to the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation.

Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation is a state government-owned power generation and distribution company.

This came after an investigation by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, reported by The Financial Times on Wednesday, claimed that at least 24 consignments of cheap, low-quality coal that the Adani Group had purchased from Indonesia in 2014 were sold to the public sector power company at three times the price.

The Adani Group is India’s largest private producer and importer of coal. An Adani Group spokesperson denied the allegations as “false and baseless”.

“Adani made excess profits of Rs 3,000 crore from this while the common person was made to suffer overpriced electricity and elevated air pollution,” the Congress said in a statement on Wednesday.

Low-grade coal produces higher quantities of ash when burnt in power plants, and more of it needs to be burnt to produce electricity, in turn leading to higher quantities of polluting emissions.

“This is yet another example of the impunity with which [Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s] close friends have enriched themselves in the past decade by violating the law and exploiting the most vulnerable Indians as they are left to struggle for basic needs like cheap electricity and clean air,” the Opposition party alleged.

The evidence for the alleged fraud, claimed the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, can be found in invoices and banking documents it gathered from several jurisdictions, details of investigations by India’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence under the Union finance ministry, leaked documents from an Indonesian coal supplier to Adani and documents obtained from the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation.

The Adani Group purchased an Indonesian shipment of coal in January 2014 that contained about 3,500 calories per kilogram, indicative of low-value coal, according to The Financial Times. The same was sold to Tamil Nadu’s power company as containing 6,000 calories per kilogram, indicating very high-grade coal. Excluding the cost of transporting the coal, the Adani Group still doubled the money it initially spent on purchasing the coal from Indonesia.

In at least two dozen such shipments, the Adani Group paid $28 per metric ton of coal but sold it to the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation at $91 per metric ton, according to the report.

The conglomerate said in a response to the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project: “With the supplied coal having passed such an elaborate quality check process by multiple agencies at multiple points, clearly the allegation of supply of low-quality coal is not only baseless and unfair but completely absurd.”

The findings of the investigation correspond with allegations of coal price manipulation levied against the Adani Group by India’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence in 2016.

“The [Directorate of Revenue Intelligence’s] probe was prevented from progressing in 2019 after Adani won a case in the High Court of Bombay that blocked the DRI from seeking details about shipments, including the types of invoices OCCRP has obtained, from abroad,” the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project reported. “The DRI then appealed to India’s Supreme Court, where the case has languished without progress.”

On Wednesday, the Congress said in a statement: “[Modi] may have helped Adani to stall all the investigations carried out into its illicit activities in India, but the information pouring in from Indonesia and other countries has only shown how close those investigations were to unveiling the truth before PM Modi bailed out his partner.”

The statement added: “All this will change when INDIA takes office next month. A PC [parliamentary committee] will be set up within one month to investigate the Modani [Modi-Adani nexus] MegaScam of the illegal over-invoicing of coal and power equipment … Each and every element of the Adani Mod(i)us Operandi will be thoroughly investigated.”