Corporate rivals against Dadri power project, ADAG tells SC

ADAG has alleged in the Supreme Court that their corporate rivals were behind the petitions filed by farmers against the land acquisition for the company's proposed 8,000MW Dadri power project in Uttar Pradesh

Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) on Monday alleged in the Supreme Court that their corporate rivals were behind the petitions filed by farmers against the land acquisition for the company's proposed 8,000MW Dadri power project in Uttar Pradesh, reports PTI.

"The petitions were motivated. This was a case of corporate rivalry. The rivalry seen in the gas dispute here (before the apex court)," senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Anil Ambani-led Reliance Power Ltd (RPL), said before a Bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan.

RPL's submission came during the hearing of its petition challenging the decision of the Allahabad High Court quashing the Uttar Pradesh government's notification to acquire land for the project.

The Bench, also comprising Justices RV Raveendran and Deepak Verma, posted the matter for hearing on 29th January after advocate ML Sharma, appearing for some farmers, said a caveat has already been filed in the matter and no order should be passed without hearing the opposite side.

"We are also not planning for any stay now," the Bench said, while accepting the plea of the farmers that they should be given an opportunity to be heard.

Mr Rohatgi said he had no objection and accepted the suggestion that a copy of RPL's petition be given to the farmers who have filed the caveat.

However, he alleged that at the behest of ADAG's corporate rivals, petitions were filed in the High Court by the farmers against the allocation of land for the project for which the gas was to be supplied from the KG Basin.

RPL assailed the High Court decision saying that it was entertained four years after the allocation of land was made and in many cases farmers have already withdrawn the compensation amount.

Mr Rohatgi said that around 5,827 farmers had consented for the acquisition of their land by the Uttar Pradesh government. “Under such circumstances, how can the High Court pass such an order?” he asked.

"Once you have given consent, you are stopped from filing objections for land acquisition," he said, adding that out of (over) 5,000 persons, only 432 farmers filed the petition in the High Court, so the benefit of the High Court order will go to them only.

The Allahabad High Court had said that the state government had side-stepped a provision inviting objections from land-owners while coming out with the notification for using emergency powers to acquire land for the company.

In its appeal, RPL had contended that the High Court should not have entertained the petitions of the farmers on grounds of delay in filing them.

It said that the company had complied with the provisions of the Land Acquisition Law and the project was in the public interest.

About 2,500 acres of land were acquired by the state government from the farmers for the project.

The High Court judgement had come on several petitions filed by farmers challenging acquisition of the land in 2004, when the Samajwadi Party was in power in the state.
 

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