A federal court in Brisbane on Friday rejected two pleas against mining giant Adani Group’s $16.5-billion coal mine project in Australia. The Australian Conservation Foundation had challenged an earlier ruling that upheld the approval to the project, while the second plea was filed by landowner Adrian Burragubba asking the court to review the Native Title Tribunal’s decision to allow the mine to proceed.
On August 22, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had also dismissed allegations of embezzlement against the company.
Adani said Friday’s rulings in Australia have reinforced its legal right to develop the project. “These appeals simply tried to delay a project that will create 10,000 direct and indirect jobs,” said Adani Australia Chief Executive Officer and Head of Country Jeyakumar Janakaraj, according to PTI.
The project has faced opposition from several environmental activists who had raised concerns about its impact on the local ecosystem, including the Great Barrier Reef. Many were also concerned about the lack of funding for the project. Earlier, some major banks like Germany’s Deutsch Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia had refused to participate in the controversial coal project.
The Carmichael project is located in Galilee Basin. The Adani Group had approached the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility to finance the rail line that is part of the project. “We are building more than a rail line,” Adani’s Australian chief Jayakumar Janakraj had told The Australian. “We are building a line that will open the Galilee Basin, linking that massive coal reserve to markets around the world, generating power.”
Financial fraud charges dismissed
The customs authority has cleared the Adani Group of embezzling around Rs 1,500 crore to offshore accounts by submitting inflated bills related to an electricity project, reported The Guardian reported on Friday.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had alleged that the conglomerate had ordered equipment worth several hundred millions for an electricity project in Maharashtra using a shell company in Dubai, and that the company had sold the same equipment back to the Adani Group at highly inflated prices.
The DRI had also said that a major portion of the money the Adani Group siphoned off to offshore accounts included loans from the State Bank of India and ICICI Bank. But the agency did not accuse either lender of any illegal activity.