The Centre has asked the Delhi Police Commissioner to initiate an investigation into the the Essar Group allegedly tapping the phones of ministers and business honchos, the government informed the Delhi High Court on Monday. The court is hearing a petition filed by Supreme Court lawyer Suren Uppal, who has sought a probe into the matter by a Special Investigation Team under the supervision of the court, reported The Indian Express. The court has reserved its order till further hearing.
On June 1, 2016, a complaint was filed with the Prime Minister's Office by a former Essar employee, Albasit Khan, who reportedly oversaw the whole process carried out between 2001 and 2006. In the 29-page document, Khan's lawyer Uppal said the recorded conversations indicate “corruption in the business milieu” and a nexus between businesses and the government.
After reports about the complaint surfaced in the media, the Home Ministry, on June 19, said it has already ordered a probe. On June 24, the High Court asked Uppal to submit the tapped conversations in a sealed cover to the ministry.
According to Uppal, Essar’s Prashant Ruia and Ravikant Ruia asked Khan, who was the head of the company's security, to tap the phones in 2001. They allegedly told him that as the company was a telecom licensee, it was required by the government to help in investigations by intercepting and tapping phones that are under State surveillance.
However, Khan has gone undercover since and not spoken up about this so far, Uppal said. People whose phones were allegedly tapped include Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, former ministers Praful Patel and Ram Naik, and the Ambani brothers Mukesh and Anil, among other top ministers and industry heads.