Essar Group Tapped Phones of Several VVIPs: Complaint to PMO

The list of people whose phones were tapped include cabinet ministers, Ambani brothers, Amitabh Bachchan and more.

2 min read
Essar Chief Executive Prashant Ruia (left) and Vice Chairman Ravi Ruia. (Photo: Reuters/<b>The Quint</b>)

The Essar Group allegedly tapped phones of several top businessmen including Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani, current and former Cabinet ministers like Suresh Prabhu, Praful Patel and high-profile bureaucrats between 2001and 2006, reports The Indian Express.

The allegation was made in a 29-page complaint submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by a Delhi-based Supreme Court lawyer Suren Uppal, who claims he represents former Essar employee who allegedly tapped the phones.

The recorded conversations allegedly reveal how businesses reach out to politicians to seek favours.

Uppal said these names are just the “tip of the iceberg”. Albasit Khan, who was employed with the group for over a decade as its security head, allegedly handed over “hundreds of audio cassettes containing thousands of [tapped] conversations,” he added.

According to the report, the series of call recordings have following targets:

  • Senior bank officials to get information that would help in Essar’s restructuring.
  • Conversations of Mukesh and Anil Ambani with Directors/Promoters of the two companies.
  • Conversations of business rivals reaching out to politicians to seek favours.
  • “Espionage by interception” of phones of senior government officials/ministers and officers across ministries.
  • Directors and officials of Essar Group with political linkage.
  • Conversations of PMO officials including Ranjan Bhattacharya and Brajesh Mishra.

The big names in the list are as follows, according to the report:

  • Railway minister Suresh Prabhu
  • Former minister Praful Patel
  • Former minister Ram Naik
  • RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani
  • ADAG group chairman Anil Ambani
  • Tina Ambani, wife of Anil Ambani
  • Several top officials of RIL and ADAG
  • Late Cabinet minister Pramod Mahajan
  • MP Amar Singh
  • Home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi
  • Former chairman of IDBI Bank PP Vora
  • Former CEO and MD of ICICI Bank KV Kamath
  • Former joint managing director of ICICI Bank Lalita Gupte
  • PMO official Brajesh Mishra
  • PMO official NK Singh
  • Ram Naik
  • Kirit Somayia
  • Jaswant Singh
  • Piyush Goel
  • Sudhanshu Mittal
  • Amitabh Bachchan
Mukesh Ambani, Amitabh Bachchan, and Anil Ambani (right). (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
Mukesh Ambani, Amitabh Bachchan, and Anil Ambani (right). (Photo: The Quint)

Uppal has also claimed that Khan tapped phones on the direction of Prashant Ruia and Ravikant Ruia, the owners of the multi-national conglomerate.

Khan was allegedly asked to keep a track of phone calls under “government surveillance” as the company requirement “under its statutory obligations to support the government”.

While Khan could not be reached for a comment, the Essar Group has called the allegations “completely false and baseless”.

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