At the centre of controversy over alleged Essar’s favours, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari denied any wrongdoing and clarified that he has never taken anything from any corporate in his life. Gadkari was in the eye of a storm when reports emerged that he and his family spent two nights on a luxury yacht owned by Essar group in the waters of French Riviera in July, 2013, on which a PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court.
Gadkari, however, admitted that he took a chopper ride from French city Nice to Riviera waterfront for the yacht cruise during a trip in 2013, when he was not a minister, MP or MLA. He also said that the expenses for the entire trip were paid from his “family account”. Earlier, a ‘whistle blower’ decided to go public with internal company communications of Essar Group, which according to him, showed how the corporates influenced individuals in positions of power and influence by showering gifts and favours to push their interests. It is here Essar’s alleged benevolence to Gadkari came into light. Noted Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, whose NGO Centre for
Public Interest Litigation filed a PIL in the Supreme Court, on the issue on Friday said it concerns the “well-oiled mechanism” of Essar corporate with which it “compromises” top ministers, bureaucrats, politicians, MLAs and media personnel. He also alleged that ESSAR offers smart phones to politicians; maintain their monthly recharge and scholarships given on VIP references.