For five years, between 2001 and 2006 — spanning one NDA and one UPA government — the Essar Group allegedly tapped several telephones of VVIPs, including Cabinet ministers, corporate chiefs Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani and many bureaucrats.
The purported conversations that were thus recorded reveal widespread peddling of influence in corridors of power, “corruption in the business milieu,” brokering of deals and blurring of lines between business and government.
As reported in by Indian Express, there is a 29-page complaint submitted on June 1, 2016, to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by Suren Uppal, a Delhi-based Supreme Court lawyer who claims to represent the Essar employee who allegedly tapped the phones.
According to the complaint, among those who were allegedly tapped include present Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, former ministers Praful Patel and Ram Naik; Mukesh Ambani, chairman of RIL; Anil Ambani, chairman of the ADAG group; his wife Tina Ambani; several top officials of their companies; late Cabinet minister Pramod Mahajan; MP Amar Singh and others.
Handwritten diaries and detailed logs of time and targeted numbers kept track of alleged intercepts, according to Suren Uppal, a Delhi-based Supreme Court lawyer who sent his complaint to the Prime Minister.
This complaint comes at a time when the Supreme Court is hearing a PIL moved by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation seeking a court-monitored probe into an alleged nexus of the Essar Group with some politicians, bureaucrats and journalists to promote its business interests, as first reported by The Indian Express. Essar has denied any wrongdoing.