The Adani Group has come under scrutiny after winning the bid for four coal blocks in March, including one where the only other bidder was Cavill Mining Private Limited.
A Scroll investigation has revealed that Cavill Mining Private Limited is owned by Utkarsh Shah, who also promotes Adicorp Enterprises, a company Hindenburg Research says was used to move money between Adani’s companies to avoid mandatory disclosures.
The two companies share the same address in Ahmedabad, and Cavill has no mining experience, a newly incorporated company called Cavill Mining, with a paid-up capital of Rs 1 lakh, competed with MH Natural Resources Private Limited, a subsidiary of Adani, for mining rights to the North West of Madheri block in Chandrapur, Maharashtra. The Madheri block is estimated to hold 200 million tonnes of coal, making it an attractive prospect for mining companies.
The Union coal ministry’s rules state that the auction for a commercial mine, on the first attempt, is valid only if there are at least two bidders. Despite concerns about collusion, the ministry reduced the minimum number of qualified bidders required for an auction to take place from three to two.
A committee of experts had previously recommended that the auction be voided in the first instance if fewer than three qualified bidders were present.
In the latest auction, Adani secured three mines, including the one that Cavill Mining won, for between 5.5% and 7% revenue share.
Utkarsh Shah’s connection to Adani group raises questions
Cavill Mining Private Limited was incorporated on April 24, 2022, in Ahmedabad, as per its submissions to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
The company’s paid-up capital of Rs 1,00,000 was mainly funded by Utkarsh Shah, who effectively became its owner with an 80% stake. Utkarsh Shah also owned 96% of Adicorp shares, according to the firm’s 2022 corporate filings.
Until his death last year, Utkarsh Shah was the chairman of the Adi-Heritage Group, which worked in several sectors before establishing itself as a reliable real estate development enterprise, according to its website.
After his demise, his son Adarsh Shah took over as director in both Adicorp and Cavill, which share the same address in Ahmedabad, confirming that they are sister companies owned by the same family.
According to a 2013 Economic Times profile of Gautam Adani, Utkarsh Shah was described as a ‘friend of 30 years’.
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