On 19th September, Income Tax officials raided more than 25 different offices and factories of Adhunik Group spread across 6 states, namely, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Assam, Meghalaya, and Maharashtra for alleged Tax evasion on account of illegal mining, unaccounted steel businesses, etc. The raids by I-T sleuth were carried out in Jamshedpur, Ranchi (in Jharkhand), Kolkotta, Durgapur (in West Bengal), Rourkela (in Orissa), Guwahati (in Assam), Pune and Aurangabad (in Maharashtra).
The sources in I-T department revealed that these raids were being conducted to look into the Mining Scam during the reign of Madhu Koda. It was also reported that during Koda’s period, Adhunik Group had invested heavy amount in mining, steel and power sectors. The I-T Official also said, “We expect that the I-T raids will continue for at least couple of days. Once the raids finishes and we complete our verification, only then we would be able to give you details of tax-evasions.”
Adhunik Group is owned by Ghanshayam Das Agarwal and his family, who are based in Jamshedpur. In fact, way back in 2004, Adhunik Group was one of the first private companies to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Jharkhand Government to set up Steel Plant in Saraikela-Kharsawan District. The Group has its fingers in many pie, viz., mining, trading, steel, power, cement, et al. The Group consists of companies like, Orissa Manganese and Minerals Limited, Adhunik Corporation Limited, Adhunik Metaliks Limited, Adhunik Steels Limited, Adhunik Alloys and Power Limited, Adhunik Power and Natural Resources Limited, besides few others similar sounding companies. Its Steel Plants are located in West Bengal, Orissa, and Jharkhand. In Meghalaya, it has a cement plant. The Group’s head-office is located in Kolkata.
Also the Group has Iron and Steel plant at Kandra in Saraikela-Kharsawan and it is setting up a beneficiation-cum-pelletisation plant and 1000 MW Power Plant in its vicinity. In the last few years, the Group has been trying desperately to lay its hand on iron ore reserves of West Singhbhum, without much success.
Amusingly, during the reign of Shibu Soren, the Group was able to make a major headway in allotment of Ghatkuri Iron Ore reserves in its name. The government at that time filed an affidavit in Supreme Court, recommending a portion of Ghatkuri mines to the group. Although, Jharkhand Government affidavit was taken back as it was found that the Ghatkuri reserves are meant only for Public Sector Units (PSUs).
When raids were going at its offices, the Managing Director of the Group, Manoj Agarwal told journalists, “We are cooperating with the I-T department. We are one of the highest tax paying companies in East Singhbhum and we have been paying all our taxes regularly.”
On the other hand, the local vernacular newspapers of Jharkhand reported that critical documents recovered during the I.T. raids points towards very high sums of unaccounted money and even cases of illegal mining being done by the Adhunik Group.
We often wonder whether a Business Group like Adhunik that is allegedly involved tax-evasions and illegal mining, could they honestly implement the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy (R&R) for the displaced people (villagers) based on our Government’s guidelines in remote places of Jharkhand, for instance Saraikela-Kharsawan. More so when it setting up their Industrial Plants in the villages located in the economically backwards districts of Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal and other states. Could Adhunik Group possibly be sincere, when it has hood-winked Government and the laws of our lands while conducting their businesses?
Can Jharkhandi people really trust the business groups like these? But what option do we really have?
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