Is somebody in the Odisha government is out to bail out Anil Ambani ?
Yes. That is what it appears to be.
Anil Ambani controlled Reliance Infra owes Rs 4000 crore to the state-owned Gridco towards the bulk power supply. And, obviously, Anil is struggling to save the company from this huge payables. It would be certainly a multi-million deal if somebody could help him out in this matter.
Recently, when the interview for the coveted post of Director(Commercial) in Gridco was going on, much to the bewilderment of the Interview Board members, a very senior IAS officers barged into the room and started lobbying in favour of a candidate. The state chief secretary, AP Padhi, the development commissioner, R Balakrishnan, energy secretary, Rajesh Verma, and an engineer expert, BK Mishra, who were there on the Board were astounded.
For, the candidate was a former employee of Anil Ambani controlled Reliance Infra against which the Gridco is fighting legal battles. More so, the candidate himself was thickly involved in the cases on behalf of the Reliance Infra. The appointment of the former Reliance Infra employee in a sensitive post like Director(Commercial) in Gridco would certainly amount to conflict of interest.
Reliance Infra, which owned three power distribution companies (discoms) in Odisha—Nesco, Wesco and Southco, is in serious trouble as the OERC has disallowed tariff hike for the three discoms for the year 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 on the ground that the revenue deficit is due to inefficiency on the part of the companies. Not only that the state regulatory body also revoked the licenses of the three discoms by an order pronounced on March 4, 2015. Even though the Reliance Infra had won the case against the OERC order on the power tariff revision in the Appellate Tribunal For Electricity (Aptle), the matter has gone to the Supreme Court as the Gridco and the state government besides the OERC have challenged the tribunal order. On the other hand the Reliance Infra has challenged the OERC order revoking the licenses of the discoms in the Aptel.
However, there are indications that the Gridco is not fighting the cases seriously.
Recently, in the tariff revision case in the Supreme Court, the Gridco senior advocate Dushyant Dave did not appear. An Advocate on Record appeared instead. Reliance Infra is represented by Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal. The case is important not only for Gridco, but also for 9.6 million electricity consumers in the state. Reliance Infra’s victory in the case would mean that the consumers in the state have to pay the higher tariff as an arrear for the past years.
Not only that it would have a bearing on the OERC March 4, 2015 order revoking the licenses of the three discoms. The OERC has cancelled the licenses of the three discoms on the ground of inefficiency . The Supreme Court is also going to adjudicate on the efficiency on the part of the discoms in the tariff case. So, the outcome of the Supreme Court case would have bearings on the license revocation case in the Aptel.
“It may so happen that the Gridco’s case of recovering the Rs 4000 crore dues from the Reliance Infra may become weak”, eminent legal experts told India Whispers.