In a June 2009 inter-office memo, an Essar executive addresses the subject of dealing with what he calls the “phenomenon of job requests” from powerful politicians and bureaucrats.
“At Delhi, we have daily interaction with top political leaders, ministries of steel, petroleum, power, shipping, DoT and scores of others on some case or the other. Moreover, most of the time the youngsters who they ask us to accommodate are also highly qualified, talented and competent ones…
Therefore, I request at least 200 jobs be earmarked for this kind of requests and a strategy worked out by business divisions to entertain qualified applicants who come under this category. The names supplied by us can be kept in a separate data bank by HR of that business division and entertained at the time of vacancies…”
Subsequently, several emails are exchanged on the subject of VIP referrals. One email, dated July 23, 2013, picks the most important ones from a list of 60. They include candidates referred by Sriprakash Jaiswal (then coal minister); Digvijay Singh (Congress general secretary) and Yashbant Narayan Singh Laguri (then Congress MP from Keonjhar in Orissa where an Essar plant is located).
“I have been getting frequent reminders from them and it would be better if we take up the cases immediately…,”an Essar executive wrote.
Another email mentions how the MP will be “a good helping hand for us… Mr Laguri came to our office personally for this request.”
An earlier mail dated July 8 states that Sriprakash Jaiswal “has shown his annoyance that even a small work is not being done… Minister has given me 5 CVs and of 5 he has suggested to recruit the following 3 people repeatedly.” The same day, another email mentions that offer-letters for the three candidates should ideally be carried by a member of the Ruia family when he meets the minister.
Congress treasurer Motilal Vora is also mentioned in Essar correspondence. An internal email on April 1, 2013 states “since Voraji has personally requested me and the candidate is very close family linked with Voraji, I would request you to kindly look into it. Shri Voraji generally does not tell any work although he is very senior member of Congress and presently having the position of treasurer of Congress party.” Subsequent emails show that Vora followed up on his request with phone calls and the candidate was appointed as a deputy general manager.