An RTI response has revealed that Reliance Energy led by Anil Ambani which supplies power to households in Mumbai suburban, has not paid the government the taxes collected from the subscribers as electricity surcharge and sales. The RTI was filed by activist Anil Galgali who revealed that the tax amount as of today exceeds Rs 2000 crore. It is to be noted that the company provides power to close to three million consumers in Mumbai.
Reliance Energy was acquired by the Adani group in December last year for Rs 19,000 crore. At that time, this was termed as the largest corporate takeover in the power sector.
Galgali says that case against the company has not been registered even as the company is taken over by the Adani group. He had sought information from the electricity department about the status of the electricity tax and duty paid to the government of Maharashtra by Reliance Energy. In the response furnished for the RTI filed, Minakshi Wathore, the electricity inspector of Santacruz division stated that, since the opening of this electricity tax branch in June, 2017, Reliance Energy has collected Rs 591,50,53,500 under different heads of electricity duty, electricity tax, Toss and Green Cess as per the prescribed rate, between June 2017 to October 2017. However, the company failed to transfer the same to the state government. The electricity inspector at Mumbai Central division’s response said that between October 2016 and May 2017, Reliance recovered Rs 860,18,61,700 from customers under electricity duty, electricity tax, Toss and Green Cess, in this case too, the amount has not been transferred to the government.
Galgali also says that it was only after the RTI was filed that the officials woke to this corruption and finally issued a notice to the company. Minakshi Wathore issued the instructions to the General Manager of Reliance on November 3 after which the Mumbai division too issued a notice.
Galgali alleges that the Energy inspector had knowingly neglected the collection of dues. He has now even written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, asking him to suspend the Energy Inspector. He has also asked an immediate case to be registered against Reliance Energy for evading the payment. He also accused Anand Kulkarni of The Maharashtra Energy Regulatory Commission for showing extreme careless in discharging his duties. Galagali also expressed that it was Kulkarni’s responsibility to ensure that the dues were recovered on time.
Galgali said, “The government has been silent while Reliance (Energy) has been sold to Adani hurriedly by (Anil) Ambani and (he) has exited himself. The government should now seek clarity from Adani and Ambani on who will be paying the government dues”, as reported by The Wire.
The copy of the RTI response is with The Logical Indian.
Anil Galgali is an RTI activist and a freelance journalist. It is not the first time that his RTI’s have revealed massive discrepancies. One of the most prominent RTI filed by him was regarding the expenditure of PM Modi led-government over advertisement and publicity, which revealed that since PM Modi assumed office, Rs 4343.26 crore has been spent for this purpose. An RTI filed by him in May revealed that CM Fadnavis’s annual average air travel costs Rs 6 crore.