Essar Tapes: PMO Silent, Delhi HC Judges Recuse From Hearing PIL 

The judges have declined to hear the matter, saying that there could be a conflict of interest.

2 min read

The Essar Group headquarters in Mumbai. (Photo: Reuters)

Two Delhi High Court Judges recused themselves from hearing the controversial Essar Tapes. Supreme Court lawyer Suren Uppal had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the matter on 24 June in the court. The matter came up for hearing on the same day before a division Judges bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice AK Pathak. One of the members of the bench, Justice Pathak decided not to hear the matter on grounds that the lawyer appearing on behalf of the Union Government is his relative.

On Monday, the matter was placed before another division bench of the High Court. This Judges bench comprised Justice Kameswar Rao and Justice IS Mehta. Again, one of the members of the bench, Justice Rao recused himself because his wife Gayathri Rao holds shares in the Reliance group. The matter will come up for hearing on 11 July before the regular bench of the High Court.

I will wait for the Supreme Court to open and place the matter before the Chief Justice of India. I am still in possession of the sensitive Essar tapes. I hope deliver these tapes into their possession as soon as possible and order investigation.
Suren Uppal

No Response from the PMO

 Uppal was allegedly approached twice by the Essar Group before the tapped conversations were reported in the media. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>/ Liju Joseph)
Uppal was allegedly approached twice by the Essar Group before the tapped conversations were reported in the media. (Photo: The Quint/ Liju Joseph)

On 1 June, Uppal filed a complaint on the Essar Tapes in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). These tapes allegedly reveal a corporate-political nexus. According to Uppal, the PMO has not yet acknowledged the complaint.

I am surprised that the government is silent on such a sensitive matter. There is no communication from any quarters. Forget ordering a probe immediately into the matter, my complaint seems to have got lost in the Prime Minister’s Office.
Suren Uppal, Lawyer, Supreme Court

According to Uppal, his office personally callsthe complaint section (011-23386497, 011-23794725 ) of the PMO at least twice everyday. Uppal also said that there was no record of his complaint and the same is untraceable. Moreover, Uppal has not yet received a complaint number from the PMO.

As per procedure, any complaint filed before the PMO receives a complaint number within a day’s time. Within two working days of receiving the same, the complainant can demand information and a complaint number from the complaint section. The complaint number ensures that the status and details of the action taken on the complaint by the office concerned is made available to the complainant. The information is made available on the PMO website.

The question remains: who is going to bell the cat? As the matter involves influential and powerful people, is the government taking trying to brush the matter under the carpet?

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