Indian mining giant Adani is facing new allegations from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), India’s customs intelligence agency, that the firm secretly transferred hundreds of millions of dollars from its books into secret tax havens overseas controlled by the Adani family. The DRI’s claims, which Adani has been fighting for four years now, were originally dismissed by an Indian official appointed to investigate. But the agency is now pushing to have the charges reinstated against the conglomerate on appeal, claiming that the earlier official report was biased towards Adani and poorly put together.
The allegations have resurfaced at a bad time for Adani, which is trying to raise funding through its Australian subsidiary to build one of the world’s largest coal mines.
Is the new scandal a ticking time bomb? News of this scandal first broke in India several years ago, but the allegations have refused to go away despite a dogged defense by Adani to insulate its reputation. At the time of writing, neither the company nor its owners have faced any criminal charges, but the potential damage to the company’s reputation has been a serious hindrance in its search for political and business partners. The allegations have also provided ammunition to environmental groups opposed to its mining activities. In order to qualify for an Australian taxpayer-funded loan totaling almost $1 billion and overcome stringent regulatory hurdles, the conglomerate must demonstrate it is a fit and proper recipient of public money.