Adani Power has opposed the application filed by the Sukhu government in the State High Court for the 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. The government 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 Gesterkamp on different documents do not match. Gesterkamp is a bona fide investor with Adani Power, so the latter should help to ensure his immigration soon.
The Sukhu government has filed an application to bring some new documents in this way. The state counsel said in the court that it is doubtful whether the NOC produced by Adani Power before the court was signed by Gasterkamp or not.
The counsel for Adani Power contended before the court that all these facts and documents were already available with the government. The court fixed the next date of hearing of the matter on May 1, 2023.
Remember, in 2006-07, the then Virbhadra Singh government had allotted two hydro power 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. 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 the 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 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 interest from 2008.
All the applications of Adani and the government are still pending. In 2008, Adani Power had 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 again challenged for review before the division bench of the high court.