August 25, 2015 5:02:09 am
The Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) has alleged that President Pranab Mukherjee sought a favour from the Essar Group for appointment of his granddaughter at the company’s London office.
This allegation has been made in an additional affidavit filed in the Supreme Court Monday by the petitioner NGO through its general secretary and lawyer Kamini Jaiswal.
The PIL has sought a court-monitored probe into an alleged nexus of Essar with politicians, bureaucrats and journalists to promote its business interests.
In March, The Indian Express reported on the PIL and how a former Essar employee decided to go public with the Essar Group’s internal company communications — these have been attached to the petition as instances of alleged impropriety.
The body of correspondence includes purported emails and memos on meetings with government officials and alleged favours to ministers, bureaucrats and journalists. The latest affidavit, based on the correspondence, claims that in September 2013, Pradeep Gupta, secretary of the President, forwarded an email mail to a corporate affairs executive at Essar. This email, it is alleged, contained no text but had an attached copy of a passport belonging to Mukherjee’s granddaughter. This email was then forwarded to another Essar employee.
“An internal email exchange dated October 3, 2013 shows that Essar discussed and decided that she be appointed as an intern for one year at their London office and after the said year she will be made permanent. It was discussed that her pay would be 30,000 pounds per year and in addition to that she would get other benefits,” the affidavit stated.
Phone calls and text messages to the Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson did not get a response.
The CPIL has also alleged that an internal communication of November 2010 mentioned names of 222 people, including top politicians, bureaucrats and journalists, who had been given iPads.
In March, the court issued notices to Essar and the Central government, seeking their replies on the PIL which is likely to be listed on September 23.
When The Indian Express sought a comment on the allegations, a spokesperson for the Essar Group said: “The questions are sub-judice and we, therefore, refrain from giving our response. Nothing stated by us herein should, however, be construed as an admission of all or any of your allegations made. We reiterate and say that Essar is a responsible corporate and we adhere to the highest standards of governance and ethics.”
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