HC quashes Letters Rogatories issued in Adani coal import case

The court said it did not go into merits of LRs issued by a metropolitan magistrate but found that due procedure had not been followed while issuing them.

Published: 18th October 2019 12:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th October 2019 12:09 AM   |  A+A-

Bombay High Court

Bombay High Court (File Photo | PTI)

By PTI

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Thursday quashed all Letters Rogatory (LRs) sent by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to Singapore and other countries in its probe of Adani group firms for alleged overvaluation of Indonesian coal imports.

The court said it did not go into merits of LRs issued by a metropolitan magistrate but found that due procedure had not been followed while issuing them.

Letters Rogatory are sent to investigative or judicial agencies in other countries when some information is required during a probe of off-shore entities.

A division bench of justices Ranjit More and Bharati H Dangre allowed the writ petition filed by Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL), challenging the DRI's action of getting LRs issued.

The bench, while quashing the LRs, noted that due process was not followed.

"The action of the respondents in giving effect to the letters rogatory issued by the learned metropolitan magistrate, Mumbai. Cannot be sustained and it deserves to be quashed and set aside," the high court order said.

"We make it clear that we have not gone into the merits of the letters rogatory issued by the magistrate," the judges said.

"We have only dealt with the contention as to whether it was permissible for the magistrate to issue such letters rogatory without following the procedure mandated by. CrPC (the Code of Criminal Procedure)," the bench said.

In September, AEL approached the high court seeking to quash the LRs, issued in 2016.

In March 2016, the DRI initiated probe against a few Adani group firms for alleged overvaluation of coal imports from Indonesia between 2011 and 2015.

LRs were issued to Singapore, Dubai and Hong Kong, seeking help to access documents lying with overseas branches of three state-owned banks relating to transactions under the probe.

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