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Inter-ministerial committee clears Lanco Infratech name: Probe concludes saying there was no violation

According to reports, an inter-ministerial committee probing into contravention of the one project-one proponent norm in the National Solar Mission by LANCO Infratech has concluded that there were no violations.

Sources privy to the developments said, “It cannot be denied that the company did have the intent to do so. However, at the first stage itself, this was noticed by NVVN (NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam) and the bidder was asked to take corrective measures.”

There is ‘no scam’ as was being concluded by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) investigation, an official said. An investigation by CSE revealed that the guidelines were flouted by LANCO Infratech, the flagship of the LANCO Group.

Fresh norms: The committee has recommended that when going for fresh bids for solar projects, the Government may further clarify on preference shares, net worth, and equity, for the companies to qualify.

Case investigations: The official said that the information based on which CSE had made its report was dated. CSE had depended on annual returns filed by the companies to the Registrar of Companies.

Sources said the information used by CSE was of the period before LANCO was asked to make the changes by NVVN, which is responsible for the contracting, buying and selling of solar power.

According to the CSE investigation, LANCO Infratech floated front companies and grabbed nine projects worth 235 MW, about 40 per cent of the 620 MW worth of projects auctioned by the Government during the first batch of the first phase of the Solar Mission.

CSE investigations showed that besides Diwakar Solar Projects, which has bagged a 100 MW solar thermal contract, another LANCO subsidiary, Khaya Solar Projects, appears on the approved list of five MW solar photovoltaic project.

Further, it was found that seven more companies had direct links with LANCO — some have LANCO employees and their family members as directors, while others have strong commercial ties to the company. LANCO’s own annual report indicates that all the seven are firmly in its control.

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