New Delhi: A senior BJP leader has landed in a soup in the wake of reports that he got big favours from the Essar Group in 2013. He, however, denied any conflict of interest, saying he was not a minister then.
Calling the Esssar Group-sponsored cruise 'hospitality', the BJP leader said, “There was no conflict of interest as I wasn’t a minister then. I will not do so now that I am a minister...but then I wasn't, neither an MP nor BJP president".
A report published by a leading daily on Friday claimed that the Essar Group favoured a top BJP leader, senior politicians and some journalists, and gave special privileges to them. As per the report, Shashi Ruia-led Essar Group sponsored a trip on a foreign yacht for the BJP leader and his family in 2013.
According to the internal company communications of the Essar Group, the company had arranged a French cruise for the BJP leader and family in 2013. A helicopter was also arranged for the family in order to transport them to the yacht.
As per an Essar official, 200 posts were reserved for recommendations only. A separate data was maintained for the same. Internal e-mails also state that 200 expensive mobile phones were distributed to officers and MLAs, journalists were also provided cab facilities and the company kept a record of all these privileges.
The ruling BJP too refused to react to the report about its senior leader taking a French cruise along with his family, which was sponsored by the Essar Group.
"This kind of news keeps coming every day. We don't need to react on this," BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told the media.
The report goes on to mention how the group cultivated individuals in positions of power and influence, showered them with gifts and favours to push its business interests.
Meanwhile, noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan's NGO today filed a PIL in the Supreme Court demanding a probe by the CBI or SIT against the Essar Group for allegedly giving favours to senior politicians and journalists.