India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case against officials of three top public sector firms for allegedly diverting US$73 million from the exchequer into their own accounts.

The officials allegedly imported cargoes of poor quality Indonesian coal but passed them off as superior quality shipments.

TBML investigation

The case has been brought as a result of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence’s (DRI’s) investigation into trade-based money laundering (TBML) by artificial inflation of the cost of imported coal shipments.

The state owned companies named in the case are Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation (MMTC) National Thermal Power Corporation and Aravali Power Company.

False declarations

MMTC alone colluded with foreign firms to import at least 186 consignments of coal between 2010 and 2015 by intentionally falsifying declared values according to the DRI.

It says the companies had also over-invoiced imports between 2011 and 2015.

Public and private

Private companies named in the case include Coastal Energy, an energy logistic solutions provider.

Prosecutors have named a representative of Coastal Energy as Ahmed Buhari but have not identified the names of any officials at the state owned companies.