Essar phone tapping report be made public, demands AAP

Noida (Uttar Pradesh) : Describing the tapping of phones of VVIPS and corporate leaders by a private service provider as a ‘sinister act’, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday demanded that all the tapes in connection with the case be made public so that the entire nation gets to know about how the system, politicians, judges and the Supreme Court are manipulated by few industrial houses.

“These tapes barring a few matters, which are related to the security and sovereignty, should be made public so that the whole country knows how the systems are manipulated by few industrial houses and how the politicians , the judges and the Supreme Court are being manipulated,” AAP leader Ashutosh told ANI.

Asserting that the matter was related to the sovereignty and the national security of the country, Ashutosh said it is clearly established that any private player can even tap the phone of the senior-most officials of the country in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

“National security advisor’s phone was tapped. The defence minister’s phone was tapped at the time of Vajpayee’s government. The content of the conversation clearly establishes how the corporate business houses in this country were manipulating the entire system. The letter which has been written to Narendra Modi ji, clearly writes the fact that how a very powerful minister, who was on the payroll of the Reliance and the industrial house, was lobbying that he should continue as a telecom minister should continue as an I&B Minister,” he added.

Dubbing the act of phone tapping as ‘sinister’, the AAP leader said it showed how the SEBI, tariff and the Supreme Court judges are fixed.

“Nothing can be more sinister than this. This is the scariest part. I hope by now the Prime Minister has already received this letter; the investigation should have been ordered on this, but surprisingly, no investigation has been ordered,” he added.

For five years, between 2001 and 2006 – spanning one NDA and one UPA government – the Essar Group allegedly tapped several telephones of the VVIPs, including cabinet ministers, corporate chiefs Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani and many other 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 the government.

This is according to a 29-page complaint submitted on June 1 to Prime Minister 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 were: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, former ministers Praful Patel and Ram Naik; Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance India Limited; Anil Ambani, chairman of the ADAG group; his wife Tina Ambani; several top officials of their companies; late Cabinet minister Pramod Mahajan and MP Amar Singh.

Others on the list include current Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, former chairman of IDBI Bank P. P. Vora, former CEO and MD of ICICI Bank K. V. Kamath, former joint managing director of ICICI Bank Lalita Gupte.

There is another list of prominent persons who allegedly figure in the conversations. Some of them are: then PMO officials Brajesh Mishra and N K Singh, politicians Ram Naik, Kirit Somayia, Jaswant Singh, Piyush Goel, Sudhanshu Mittal and others include Sahara chief Subroto Roy and filmstar Amitabh Bachchan.

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, while the Essar has denied any wrongdoing. (ANI)