Adani Power opposes Himachal’s plea to refund Rs 280 Cr deposit in the High Court

THE Adani Power opposed the application filed by the Sukhu government in the State High Court for a refund of Rs 280 crore deposited by Adani Power in 2008 as upfront money on behalf of Netherlands-based company Brekel NV.  

The matter was listed before a division bench of Acting Chief Justice Sabina and Justice Satyan Vaidya in the Himachal Pradesh High Court on Monday.

In this case, the Sukhu government has filed an application in the court that the director of Breakle Company, a Dutch citizen, Dean Gesterkamp, ​​is absconding in the Vigilance case, and until he joins the investigation, this money should not be released to Adani Power.

Govt said that Vigilance has issued a blue corner notice against Gesterkamp in the case registered under section 420 against him.  The Sukhu government has said in its application that the signatures made by Gasterkamp on different documents do not match.  Gesterkamp is a bona fide investor with Adani Power so the latter should help to ensure is immigration soon.

The Sukhu government has filed an application to bring some new documents .  State counsel said in the court that NOC produced by Adani Power before the court was signed by Gasterkamp or not it is doubtful.

The counsel for Adani Power contended before the court that all these facts and documents were already available to the government.  

 The court fixed the next date of hearing of the matter on May 1, 2023.

In 2006-07, the then Virbhadra Singh government had allotted two hydropower projects of 960 MW, Jangi Thopan and Jangi Powari, to the Netherlands company Brekel NV  but this company could not deposit the upfront money within the stipulated time limit.  

This was the case in the charge sheet of the then Dhumal BJP Government.  Later, Dhumal got it investigated and the documents submitted by Breakal were found to be fake, but despite this, the Dhumal government allotted this project to Brekel only.

  Reliance Infrastructure, second in the bid, took the matter to court, and in 2009 the court upheld the allotment which was canceled later.  Meanwhile, during the hearing in court, the upfront money was deposited on behalf of Adani Group companies. 

 Brakel later told the government that he had borrowed this amount from Adani Power.  In a recent application filed in the court, the Sukhu government has said that Gesterkamp, ​​director of Brakel, has given NOC to Adani Power and that he has no objection if the upfront money is returned to Adani Power.  

There is nothing new in this.  Remember, in April 2022, Justice Sandeep Sharma ordered the government to return Rs 280 crore to Adani Power within two months.  

After two months, nine percent interest will be charged on this amount.  But the government did not return this amount to Adani Power and filed a stay application in the court, as well as challenging this decision.  On the other hand, Adani Power has to pay the interest from 2008.

The application has been given in court. All the applications of Adani and the government are still pending. 

In 2008, Adani Power deposited this upfront money on behalf of Brakel. Legal experts believe that according to the law, Adani Power should have demanded this amount from Brakel. 

The previous Jairam government had lost the matter and Adani Power won the case before the single bench court was again challenged for review before the division bench of the high court.

The state may hire the services of a senior advocate to represent this high-profile case on behalf of the government, but no decision has been taken so far. 

The state law department has given advice to the state to hire services renowned counsel like Kapil Sibal or Abhishek Manusinghvi to advocate in this matter but  It remains to be seen what decision the Sukhu government do in the case.  Apart from this Vigilance could make headway to find Gesterkamp.

State government seemed to be on receiving ends as about Rs 1500 Crore upfront money is on the stake as various similar matter for arbitration has been decided or are under challenge in the courts.

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