The Quint Accesses Essar Audio Tapes: Exclusive Transcripts Part 1
The Quint has access to the incendiary Essar Tapes (audio and transcripts). Read the transcripts, exclusively, here.
The Essar Tapes allegations shocked many, not without reason. They purport to reveal conversations between political and corporate power brokers as they exert behind-the-scenes influence over the country’s affairs.
The Quint has exclusive access to these incendiary tapes (audio and transcripts). Here are transcripts of the phone conversations between a Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) big wig and a member of the company, and between the same Reliance employee and a personal secretary (PS) to an ex-cabinet minister of the Vajpayee regime.
The subject of these conversations shows how cosily governments and corporates interact and transact, in order to ensure the smooth functioning of these companies.
Conversation 1: Reliance Bigwig and RIL Employee
In this particular conversation, an RIL bigwig is receiving a briefing from his employee about dealing with a cabinet minister of NDA-1 government (under AB Vajpayee).
RIL Bigwig: Hello
RIL Employee: Sir, woh Ajay Singh ka phone aaya tha (Ajay Singh called) and Sunil Mittal telephoned Pramod ji and informed that he is planning a (sic) inter-connectivity agreement with Reliance. To (sic) Pramod (former minister Pramod Mahajan) ji responded to Ajay Singh to check whether it was true information. So I told Ajay Singh there was a meeting... (next 2-3 secs not clear) So he (Ajay Singh) said that you talk to Pramod ji and Pramod ji (sic) had said very categorically that you should not fight with them because I am fighting for you on behalf of BSNL and Government of India, so why are you worried. To maine kaha ki mai Promod ji se baat kar leta hoon (I said I will speak with Pramod ji) I will speak to Pramod ji right now and check what is in his mind and I will tell him to come and sit, make an open offer for signing inter-connectivity agreement because we have not done anything as yet…
Reliance Bigwig: Haan ji (Yes).
RIL Employee: Itna keh ke rakhunga mai (I will conclude after saying this much)… and I will take his guidance ke what he want us to do. He wants us not to sign, we will not sign…. Ye check karke batata hoon sir aapko (I will check and inform you sir).
Reliance Big Wig: Haan, haan check karke bata mujhe (Yes, check and inform me)... Achcha usko sign nahi karna hai, usko bolna hai ki sir abhi hum physical inter-connecting kar lenge (Oh, he doesn’t want to sign, tell him then that for the time being we will do inter-connectivity) like what we are asking anyway... it will take us a month. (next 2-3 seconds not clear).
Conversation 2: RIL Employee and PS to Former Cabinet Minister
This conversation shows how an RIL employee tried to manipulate the system while chatting with a cabinet minister’s PS.
PS to Former Cabinet Minister: Toh usko aap, Shankar ko, can you just send him to Narendra Sharma (the then Chairman cum CMD, MTNL) in the morning, I have spoken with Sharma. I have told him to sign exactly the same format.
RIL Employee: Okay sir.
PS to Former Cabinet Minister: He will not insist on any point… Nothing.
RIL Employee: Okay ji.
PS to Former Cabinet Minister: Wo subah-subah phone karke unke pass pahuchna hai (You need to call him and reach in the morning).
RIL Employee: Okay, maine keh diya hai yahan subko (I have told everyone here), nobody will sign any agreement with any cellular operator… theek hai (fine)?
PS to Former Cabinet Minister: Theek hai (fine)… I want to finish that tomorrow before 1:00
RIL Employee: Sir that will be over by 12 o’clock tomorrow…
PS to Former Cabinet Minister: Haan theek hai, aap pehle hi pahucha dena unko (Yeah, that’s fine. Just reach it to him at the earliest).
RIL Employee: Haan ji sir pahucha dunga (Yes sir, I will ensure that it reaches)... and secondly sir ye keh raha tha ki Sunil Bharti Mittal ko aap ek chamatkar dikha do (Secondly, I wanted to say that you should teach him a lesson)…
PS to Former Cabinet Minister: Abhi tho uska philhaal network ban hua-hua hai, matlab band in the sense MTNL aur uska inter-connectivity ruka hua hai (Yeah, his network has been banned recently, as in MTNL and his networks connectivity is stuck).
RIL Employee: Barabar (right)…
PS to Former Cabinet Minister: Haan phir wo tho ekdum tuta hua hai matlab wo tho hume 50 phone maar raha hai iss samay (Yeah, he is completely shattered. He is calling us some 50 times)...
Usko tho aisa chamatkar dikha do ki line pe aa jay (Teach him a good lesson)...
PS to Former Cabinet Minister: Na mai line pe a raha hoon, na Narender Sharma line pe aa raha hai, aur boss ne tho phone lene se manna hi kar diya hai (Neither am I nor Narendra Sharma is taking calls. Boss has, in fact, refused to speak over the phone).
RIL Employee: Nahi wo barabar hai lekin uski chaddi puri utarni hai sir (That’s fine, but we need to humiliate him).
PS to Former Cabinet Minister: Haan, haan hum to utaar hi rahe hain (Yes, we are already at it)… Ab wo tho ye keh raha hai ki hum tho deneke bilkul mood mein hain ye interconnection... Aap logon ko thodi na rok sakte hai hum… Lekin humse to ye keh raha tha ki boss ko credit mil jaye iska. (He is not in favour of the interconnection... we can’t stop you... but he was telling us how boss should get the credit.
RIL Employee: Haan, very good (Yes, very good)…
The veracity of these tapes have not been authenticated, however, Suren Uppal has stated that if the PMO refuses to look into the case, he will move a PIL in the Supreme Court seeking a proper investigation. Suren Uppal is a Supreme Court lawyer who wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on 1 June, with 29 pages of allegations regarding corruption and a “political-corporate nexus” in government between 2001 and 2006.
RIL has responded to these allegations with vehement denials, releasing a strongly-worded statement to the media in its defence. However, this defence came almost 3 months after Uppal had sent the initial caution notice (which The Quint is also in exclusive possession of) to the company with the allegations, and only after news of the tapes was circulated by the media.
This is Part 1 of a series. Read Part 2 here.
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