Essar granted favours to politicians, bureaucrats, CPIL tells Supreme Court
In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, the NGO which has “sought a court-monitored investigation by an SIT or the CBI into the high level of political-bureaucratic-corporate nexus, has stated that Essar used their money power to change public policies, plant questions in Parliament, get access to internal government documents/cabinet papers, grant favours to politicians and bureaucrats for receiving benefits in return, and plant stories in news media.
CPIL, in the affidavit submitted has made several allegations regarding politicians and bureaucrats indulging in quid pro quo and as well as framing policies in a manner that suited Essar. CPIL has relied on Essar's internal emails which were provided to the NGO by a “reliable source.”
In the affidavit, CPIL has stated, that a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Steel had official dealing with the Essar Group. The emails from Essar prima facie show that he, using his official position, strongly pushed for Essar’s business interests within the Government.”
In addition the affidavit also reads, “He was apparently given free accommodation by Essar during the month of June 2013.” The affidavit also states, “He was sharing all internal deliberations in the Steel Ministry with the Essar Group, pushing Essar’s business interests and advising Essar how to pursue its projects.”
The NGO in its affidavit has also stated that Essar was in touch with the then Finance Minister. Regarding Ministry of Petroleum and Essar, the affidavit states, “A series of email shows the influence Essar carried in the Ministry of Petroleum under its then Minister and his Secretary, and also that they had easy access to the Minister who apparently favoured them while framing public policies.”
Relying on emails, CPIL also stated that a certain bureaucrat tried to get a job for his family member in Essar. The affidavit states, “In an apparent instance of quid pro quo a, private secretary to the Petroleum Minister has requested for recruitment of his nephew in the group.
Citing several instances, CPIL also stated, “Essar’s internal emails of the year 2012 show that it had used its money power to cultivate influence over a large number of politicians and bureaucrats across the country. Some of them were obliged by Essar on its own, while some asked Essar for petty favours like accommodation and transportation. All of them show an unhealthy and unethical nexus between public servants and corporate interests.”
CPIL also stated that politicians and bureaucrats were leaking government documents to Essar. For the same, CPIL relied on the internal emails of Essar. Regarding the same, the affidavit reads, “A series of emails of Essar group also substantiate that Essar had easy access to government deliberations.”
Thereafter, CPIL listed a number of emails, in chronological order. CPIL has also alleged that “Essar was also getting MPs to write letters to the Prime Minister.
The NGO also alleged that Essar was planting news stories in the media.
The affidavit before the Apex Court has been filed in the name of Kamini Jaiswal, who is the General Secretary of the NGO.