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.

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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
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    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.
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      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.
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        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.
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          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...
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            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.
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              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!
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                1. V
                  Vikram
                  Feb 27, 2015 at 3:54 pm
                  Kaplesh beta dekhe ja age hota kya hai. Abhi to sirf dilli hari hai.
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                  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????
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