The Quint Accesses Essar Audio Tapes: Exclusive Transcripts Part 2

The Quint brings you transcripts of key conversations from the Essar Tapes. 

Updated21 Jun 2016, 04:10 PM IST
7 min read

The Quint has exclusive access to the incendiary tapes (audio and transcripts) in the Essar phone tapping case.

This is Part 2 in the series of transcripts. The phone conversations are between two Reliance employees and the personal secretary to an ex-Cabinet Minister in Vajpayee’s regime.

Also Read: The Quint Accesses Essar Audio Tapes: Read Exclusive Transcripts

Conversation 1: Two Reliance Employees

This conversation is around the MTNL Inter-connectivity Agreement between two RIL employees.

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Employee 1: Haan ye baat hui abhi Bhatnagar (MTNL official) se ki... Verma ji (the then Secretary, MTNL) aur Harshvardhan (the then TRAI Secretary) ne bula ke vo sare paper change kar diye jo Bhatnagar ne banaye the … aur usme pehle tho metro ke andar 45 paisa kar diya 30 paisa ki jagah pe, aur baki sab circle mein pe 50 paise kar diya (sic)… Matlab this is presently on all the incoming calls 40 paisa/min and 50 paisa/min… (Yes, just spoke to an MTNL official ... Verma ji and Harshvardhan said to change all the papers Bhatnagar made. Firstly, in the papers under metro I changed the rate from 30 paisa to 45 paisa, and in the remaining circles I changed the rates to 50 paisa...)

RIL Employee 2: Hmmm… okay...

RIL Employee 1: Pramod (Mahajan) ji ke Ajay (Personal Secretary) ka phone aaya tha abhi ki Pramod ji to sign Narendra Sharma (the then Chairman cum CMD, MTNL) to sign tomorrow MTNL inter-connectivity agreement (sic) (Pramod ji’s personal secretary, Ajay had just called to say Pramod ji and Narendra Sharma will sign the MTNL Inter-connectivity Agreement tomorrow)... exactly on the lines of BSNL… tho Shankar ko bol diya hai maine ki (so I have told Shankar) to present himself before Narendra Sharma at 10 o’ clock …

RIL Employee 2: Haan ji, haan ji... (yes, yes).

RIL Employee 1: Ye khali bata dena, isse tho BSNL ki band baj hi jayegi … (just tell him this much, it’s enough for BSNL to take a hit).

RIL Employee 2: Haan vo tho Pramod ji hone thodi denge wo tho usko (BSNL) theek karne walon mein se hain … (Pramod ji won’t let that happen... he’s among those who make it straight).

RIL Employee 1: Mai keh dunga naa Pramod ji ko ki (I’ll tell Pramod ji) ... to send a message to Mr. Verma, don’t do anything unless you have spoken to us (sic) … aur kya hai ki Ajay ko baat karani hai Harshvardhan ke saath mein tho kara deni chaiye … (I have to make Ajay speak to Harshvardhan, so we should do that soon...)

RIL Employee 2: Aapki kya baat hui wahan? (What conversation did you have with them?)

RIL Employee 1: Mera, kya kar rahe hai, kya nahi kar rahe hai, vo samajh lega naa ... (What are they doing, what they are not doing, whether he will understand etc...)

RIL Employee 2: Abhi karvata hoon mai abhi (I’ll make you speak to Ajay right now) ... Tu abhi hold karta hai tho dusari line pe lagga deta hoon uski… (If you hold the phone, i’ll put him on the other line right now).

RIL Employee 1: Nahi-nahi boss tu baat kar lena... (No, no why don’t you speak to him).

Conversation 2: Two RIL Employees (contd.)

The two employees talk about backing up the price hike with solid calculations.

RIL Employee 2: Pareshan tha yeh Bhatnagar bohot ... (Bhatnagar was really worried).

RIL Employee 1: Ho gaya na, boss. (It’s done now).

RIL Employee 2: Bola itna sab kuch manage kar diya tha, bola sab bekar kar diya (sic) … (We tried to manage it all, but it’s all useless ...)

RIL Employee 1: Hala ki they are completely hell bent into it (sic).

RIL Employee 2: Ya Ya, so jo 12 changes, we now have to work out a strategy as to how do we challenge Bharat Sanchar. So yeh jo yeh price hike propose kar rahe hai … (so this price hike they’re proposing) ... it has to be supported by some sort of calculations. Uss calculation me kafi galti nikalegi (lots of mistakes in that calculation will be pointed out). We have to make it public bhai.

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

Conversation 3: RIL Employee 1 and PS to Former Cabinet Minister

The conversation revolves around taking TRAI into the loop.

RIL Employee 1: Abhi abhi mujhe khabar aayi hai ki (I have just received news that ...) TRAI has decided excess deficit charge. Usme ye log 45 paise/min metro ke liye decide kar rahe hai; aur 50 paise/min circle ke liye decide kar rahe hai. Ye log pehle decide kar rahe the 30 paisa/min. Lekin Chairman and Member Secretary (TRAI) ne mil kar isse 45 paisa aur 50 paisa kar diya hai. Mere khayal se this is a serious issue kyuki isse BSNL koi 300-4000 crore ka salana nuksan ho jane wala hai. I think aap pehle Harvardhan se baat kar lijiye ki meri khabar sahi hai ya galat hai. (In that they are deciding 45 paisa/minute for metro; and 50 paisa/minute for circle. They were earlier deciding 30 paisa/minute, but the Chairman and Member Secretary (TRAI) have together made it 45 and 50 paisa respectively. I think this is a serious issue because this will mean an annual loss of Rs 300-400 crore for BSNL. I think you should speak to Harshvardhan and confirm if my information is true.)

PS to Former Cabinet Minister: Haanji Accha (yes ... okay).

RIL Employee 1: Mere khayal se pehle wo yeh bhi decide kar rahe the ki aap ko permit kar rahe the ki aap kisi bhi call ko carry kar sak rahe the. Text ke hisaab se charge lene wale the. (I think they were earlier also deciding to give you permission to carry any call. They were going to charge according to texts.)

In per text BSNL could have taken calls carrying more than one texts (sic). Isse BSNL ko fayada ho jata lekin isme wo bhi hata diya hai. Toh kal aap usko bolna ki file lekar aaja usko dikha denge, tariff samjha denge. (BSNL would have benefitted from this but they have now revoked the idea. So tomorrow you ask him to come with the file, we’ll explain the tariff to him.)

PS to Former Cabinet Minister: Haanji.

The Essar group allegedly tapped the phones of VVIP corporates, bureaucrats and politicians between 2001 and 2006. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
The Essar group allegedly tapped the phones of VVIP corporates, bureaucrats and politicians between 2001 and 2006. (Photo: The Quint)

RIL Employee 1: Take him into complete confidence … don’t let him go and disclose the tariff to TRAI. Nahi toh kya hoga sir agar hogaya toh humko fight karna padega TRAI me (otherwise we will have to fight in TRAI). TRAI should not be carried away in the hands of the cellular lobby otherwise this will be the final move from COAI cellular lobby to us (Reliance). That means they have taken government for granted. So, aap please Pramod ji ko brief kar dijiye, aur bol liye TRAI ko message bhejne ke liye ki sab kuch do din ke liye hold par rakh dijiye. (So you please brief Pramod ji and tell him to message TRAI and ask them to put everything on hold for two days). Have a confidential discussion. Mere hisaab se aap bura mat manna (don’t take offence), I feel Harshvardhan needs to be shaken up a bit.

PS to Former Cabinet Minister: Haanji (yes).

RIL Employee 1: Nahi toh sir hume 3000 crore ka jhataka lagega, ek nahi, salo saal (otherwise sir we will have a loss of Rs 3000, not for one year but for many).

PS to Former Cabinet Minister: Haanji….. thik hai (yes, alright).

RIL Employee 1: I will come and meet you jab aap boloaaj ya kal jab bolo (today or tomorrow, whenever you say).

PS to Former Cabinet Minister: Thik hai sir… barabar hai (yes sir, it’s all good).

RIL Employee 1: Barabar hai.

PS to Former Cabinet Minister: Okay.

RIL Employee 1: Aur koi development hota hai toh batata hu (if there’s any other development I’ll tell you).

PS to Former Cabinet Minister: Thik hai (okay).

(The next few minutes of the conversation are unclear).

RIL Employee 1: Hello hello … RG (sic) bola ki wo kal Harshvardhan se mil raha hai (RG said he’s meeting Harshvardhan tomorrow). He said that he is not going to disclose tariff to public. Uske hisaab se BSNL ko fayada ho raha hai (according to him BSNL is benefitting). Woh excess deficit charge long distance calls me de raha hai (He’s giving excess deficit charge in long distance calls). Around 4.5 paisa/min to 4.9 paisa/min. Waha wo (TRAI) dikha raha hai ki usko (BSNL) ko fayada ho raha hai (TRAI is showing that BSNL is benefitting). Aur ye excess deficit charge intra-circle aur inner circle me usko (BSNL) jyada dila raha hai (this excess deficit charge is giving BSNL more in intra and inner circle). Iss tarah woh BSNL ko calculation me fayada kara raha hai (This way BSNL is benefitting in the calculation). Mujhe ILD (long distance) call mein interest nahi hai jayada (I’m not too interested in long distance calls). Pehle local mein baat kar phir ILD par baat karenge (first let’s talk about local, then we’ll see about long distance). Agar inner circle aur intra circle ke 3.00/min hai unhe excess deficit kaise milega (if inner circle and intra circle is 3 paisa/minute then how will they get excess deficit). This is a hypothetical calculation.

PS to Former Cabinet Minister: Paper tiger hai.

RIL Employee 1: Thik thik Paper tiger hai … gains on paper not in reality.

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Published: 21 Jun 2016, 02:51 PM IST

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