Essar Leaks: French cruise for Nitin Gadkari, favours to UPA Minister, journalists

Company communications, show that BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, his wife, two sons and daughter spent two nights on an Essar luxury yacht.

Written by Appu Esthose Suresh , Ritu Sarin | New Delhi | Updated: February 27, 2015 2:59 pm
Details of how business group cultivated the powerful is part of PIL to be filed in SC. Details of how business group cultivated the powerful is part of PIL to be filed in SC.

A “whistleblower” has decided to go public with internal company communications of the Essar Group that, he says, show how it cultivated individuals in positions of power and influence, showered them with gifts and favours to push its business interests.

ALSO READ:   ‘Guests are very important people… Kindly see they are comfortable’

The correspondence which includes purported emails and memos refers to meetings with government officials and alleged favours to ministers, bureaucrats and journalists, is the subject matter of a public interest litigation which will be filed in the Supreme Court by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation.

ALSO READ: Getting papers out, quoting Nehru, spreading Diwali cheer

The Indian Express sent a questionnaire about these records to Essar’s spokesperson. Responding to the email, a spokesperson for the company said in a statement: “It is apparent that some of the material is fabricated and some of the allegations are conclusions and inferences being drawn from email stolen from our computers.

ALSO READ: A reference to The Indian Express

Stealing emails constitutes theft and as you would be aware that Delhi Police is taking strong steps against persons stealing information… We have already filed an appropriate complaint with the concerned authorities… We would take appropriate legal steps to ensure that the protection of law available against theft in all its forms is extended to our property, i.e. our servers and data on these servers.” (see full statement below)

essarpage

Company communications, which form part of the PIL, show that BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, his wife, two sons and daughter spent two nights on an Essar luxury yacht stationed in the waters of the French Riviera between July 7 and July 9, 2013. They were flown to the yacht Sunrays in a helicopter from Nice airport and returned the same way.

ALSO READ: Wooing politicians with high-end phones, journalists with cabs

Gadkari was not an Union Minister then and had stepped down as BJP president. But an Essar executive, in an email to the yacht captain, made it very clear: “are very important people… see they are comfortable.”

ALSO READ: Keep 200 jobs for VIP referrals and maintain a data bank, says memo

When The Indian Express asked Gadkari about the trip, he said: “I was going to Norway with my family and all air tickets and hotel bills for the holiday were paid by me. I did take a ride on the yacht of the Ruia family and that is because I have known the Ruias for over 25 years. When they learnt I was visiting Europe, they invited me. I see no conflict of interest here since at that time I was neither the BJP president nor a minister or MP. I will not do so now since I am a minister but at that time, where was the problem?”

‘’This trip was a private affair,” Gadkari said, “and I do have individual relations with people independent of my public life. Ruias and I have been neighbours for years in Mumbai and I have not dealt with their cases in any capacity or extended any favours to them. Where is the conflict of interest? Also, it is not as if the Ruias were paying a bill for me. It is their yacht which was lying vacant when we visited it. It is their personal boat, they own it. And the helicopter ride was essential since you can only land on the yacht by helicopter. It was a memorable trip.”

It is alleged in internal Essar communications that then coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, Congress leaders Digvijaya Singh and Motilal Vora, then MP Yashbant Narayan Singh Laguri and BJP’s Varun Gandhi referred candidates for jobs in Essar.

A senior company executive, in one of the emails, suggests that 200 slots be earmarked for VIP “referrals” and a separate data bank maintained.

Asked if he had referred people for jobs, Jaiswal told The Indian Express: “I may have recommended a few people to Essar. I used to frequently recommend unemployed youth from my constituency, wherever they asked me to put in a word.”

Digvijaya Singh, who it is alleged made one such “referral”, said: “I do not recollect this case but I do not deny that I used to regularly give references to those who needed assistance.”

Varun Gandhi, when contacted, said: “I cannot remember the name of this gentleman that you are referring to. But in the course of my public life, I do come across well-educated, well-meaning and unemployed youth from my constituency and other places as well. They request me to give a letter of reference for employment and my office gives them letters of recommendation after satisfying their bonafide credentials.”

Laguri was unavailable for comment.

In one email, there is a proposal from a senior Essar executive that the company gift 200 high-end cell phones to top bureaucrats and MPs. Essar executives also arranged cabs for some Delhi-based journalists, in one case for 10 days. The company kept a record of all such requests made and granted.

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  1. M
    murali
    Feb 27, 2015 at 2:23 pm
    When he was not in power he can go with business friend or can use their help.nothing wrong unless you prove some benefit he provided to ESSAR ABOUT INDIAN EXP.NEWS AND CONGRESS PARTY CHOR KO SUB C DIKTA USKE JAISA, P.C CHACKO OR KERALA CHACK IS LIKE MANISHANKAR IYER OR MANISH TIWARI FOR BARKING LIKE STREET BARKER CHACKO SHOULD CHECK ABOUT HIS PARTY'S LEADERS, NOW IN KERALA CONGRESS PARTY PRESIDENT MADE ONE YATRA FOR BAR PROBLEM (AGAINST LIQUOR) CAR PROVIDED BY BAR OWNERS AND DONATION ALSO COLLECTED FROM BAR OWNERS.SO BETTER CHACKO SHOULD CLOSE HIS BARKING MOUTH
    Reply
    1. Q
      qssqqwqwqq
      Feb 27, 2015 at 5:40 pm
      loot the country and enjoy life and get elected again.Great Indian voter does not have a choice.He has to select between two looters.yes ''no conflict of interst'' for Indian voter.
      Reply
      1. Q
        qssqqwqwqq
        Feb 27, 2015 at 6:10 pm
        No conflict in interest in Farmers dying in Maharashtra and Maharashtra leaders taking favours fron super rich and enjoying their life and returning favours to rich.
        Reply
        1. B
          bonku
          Feb 27, 2015 at 10:09 pm
          Most, if not all, of LALA companies like Essar, RIL etc do not just adjust to prevailing culture of political and administrative corruption (like Tatas) but also ACTIVELY PROMOTE crime and corruption in every field of life in India. And that's no secret there in India. Modi led NDA govt seems to be more corrupt and sold out (to big corporate interests) but little more intelligent to look good (in public opinion) than totally corrupt, inefficient but more stupid Congress Govt. I would be more interested to watch how general Indians, common employes in such companies use modern technology and gather courage to break such status-quo and help changing the country.
          Reply
          1. C
            cherans
            Feb 27, 2015 at 7:43 am
            Nitin is not a good person to be in BJP ministry. Where Modi can go for ministers...BJP has no bench strength at all...Shameless people....Aam Admi is taking note of it...
            Reply
            1. f
              flowers2indonesia
              Feb 27, 2015 at 4:12 pm
              Bring smile to the face of your dear mother on this special day of Mother’s Day with the wonderful gifts of flowers. Mother’s Day Gift Delivery in Indonesia is an amazing concept for expressing your intense feeling towards your Mother. Send Mother’s Day Flowers to Indonesia at low cost through any online shopping store and express your best love and respect to your loving mummy.
              Reply
              1. H
                Haradhan Mandal
                Feb 27, 2015 at 7:17 am
                Statistically speaking - Congress is in power in Center for over 60 years and BJP for 6 years. The contrast is glaring!
                Reply
                1. V
                  Vikram
                  Feb 27, 2015 at 3:54 pm
                  Kaplesh beta dekhe ja age hota kya hai. Abhi to sirf dilli hari hai.
                  Reply
                  1. V
                    Vikram
                    Feb 27, 2015 at 2:33 pm
                    How can one even debate whether this is good or bad.. Imagine Mahatma hi accepting invitation of Tata for some boat comfort. Or Anna Hazare. Even AK looks much better... hi ji always cleaned his own toilet and made own clothes. Still he had the time and energy to lead this nation to independence. Where is our country going????
                    Reply
                    1. V
                      Vikram
                      Feb 27, 2015 at 2:50 pm
                      There us a joke doing circles as follows: It is rumored that a boat idling in French Riviera may be auctioned very soon and proceeds will go to Ganges. Independent sources have not verified the truth, but some say that the boat may be used for ferrying daily pengers across the ganges.... Nothing is confirmed yet... ;-P ;-P ;-P
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                      1. a
                        a2l
                        Feb 27, 2015 at 12:00 pm
                        I think standards at IE have just gone bad to worst. For last two years, most of their reporting has been shoddy and inept. Reporting in their big stories like Coup at Midnight by General V.K.Singh, and latest terror boat revelations have been proved to be , well figment of reporters imagination. They are just trying to be sensational by hook or crook. For corruption charge to stick, they need to show how Gadkari favoured Essar group after becoming the minister. In absence of that its basically BS they are spreading for selling few more copies. P.S - Why the names of Jurnos are being suppressed?
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                          Abhijit Bhattacharya
                          Feb 27, 2015 at 5:08 pm
                          One set of looters under Sonia regime is now replaced by another. From Pappu to Chaiwala, the great saga of the loot of India continues.
                          Reply
                          1. A
                            Anupam
                            Feb 27, 2015 at 1:12 pm
                            please mention name of journalist also..why u r not mentioning their name...because they are belonging to ur journalist community.
                            Reply
                            1. A
                              afroz
                              Feb 27, 2015 at 7:11 pm
                              Absolutely correct, Abhijit.
                              Reply
                              1. A
                                afroz
                                Feb 27, 2015 at 7:07 pm
                                @Mr. Foolish, This could be the norm in business as per your opinion. But in reality this is kind of bribing/corruption. Will the relationship of neighborhood be equally extended to all neighbors or only those that have good potential to return the favor? The comminique clearly points out that keep certain jobs aside for the referral s. Is that company policy? If yes, then that should be in the policies. Else it is wrong, but still not a crime. But appointing a referral as Deputy GM? Where are the moral values?
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                                1. V
                                  Virendra Sason
                                  Feb 27, 2015 at 12:28 pm
                                  Is it not nexus among politicians and corporates? Is it a corruption free Govt?
                                  Reply
                                  1. V
                                    Virendra Sason
                                    Feb 27, 2015 at 12:35 pm
                                    Central Government Act Section 13 in The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 13. Criminal misconduct by a public servant.— (1) A public servant is said to commit the offence of criminal misconduct,— (a) if he habitually accepts or obtains or agrees to accept or attempts to obtain from any person for himself or for any other person any gratification other than legal remuneration as a motive or reward such as is mentioned in section 7; or (b) if he habitually accepts or obtains or agrees to accept or attempts to obtain for himself or for any other person, any valuable thing without consideration or for a consideration which he knows to be inadequate from any person whom he knows to have been, or to be, or to be likely to be concerned in any proceeding or business transacted or about to be transacted by him, or having any connection with the official functions of himself or of any public servant to whom he is subordinate, or from any person whom he knows to be interested in or related to the person so concerned; or (c) if he dishonestly or fraudulently misappropriates or otherwise converts for his own use any property entrusted to him or under his control as a public servant or allows any other person so to do; or (d) if he,— (i) by corrupt or illegal means, obtains for himself or for any other person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage; or (ii) by abusing his position as a public servant, obtains for himself or for any other person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage; or (iii) while holding office as a public servant, obtains for any person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage without any public interest; or (e) if he or any person on his behalf, is in possession or has, at any time during the period of his office, been in possession for which the public servant cannot satisfactorily account, of pecuniary resources or property disproportionate to his known sources of income. Explanation.—For the purposes of this section, “known sources of income” means income received from any lawful source and such receipt has been intimated in accordance with the provisions of any law, rules or orders for the time being applicable to a public servant. (2) Any public servant who commits criminal misconduct shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall be not less than one year but which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine.
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                                      Akhtar Anand
                                      Feb 27, 2015 at 12:05 pm
                                      When Robert Vadra gets freebies from DLF, he is declared as corrupt by the BJP, but when Gadkari gets it it is due to old friendship. See the shamelessnees. The yatcht was lying idle that is why he boarded it. If it is so do the Ruias will give it to me because it is lying idle. Kejriwal is the medicine for all such rats who are freely eating the grains from the barn.
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                                        Ambrish
                                        Feb 27, 2015 at 4:48 pm
                                        What so much to shout about this.... He had gone with his family... Now you want to get into personal life also...all bull news... Have the courage to say the name of journalist also... They cant accept modi govt is going good...media is paid now days... Just want to divert from govt progress report!!!
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                                          Anuradha Kalhan
                                          Feb 27, 2015 at 2:53 pm
                                          Mr Gadkari obviously had a 'memorable' time in a helicopter and yacht in France, with his friends and neighbors from Mumbai; is this called crony capitalism?
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                                            Anurag Srivastava
                                            Feb 27, 2015 at 2:15 pm
                                            The Conduct rules of the Government servants lays down certain rules. They cannot blatantly enjoy free bees. Whatever has happened is wrong.
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