Essar House Ltd has alleged before the Bombay High Court that a campaign carried out by Greenpeace India against it (Essar Group) for preservation of forests was “motivated, controlled and instigated by external vested interests”.
This was stated in an affidavit, filed by Essar on June 24, on a notice of motion taken out by the company in a suit praying that the defendants be restrained from publishing defamatory material with respect to the proposed Essar Coal-fired power plant project at Mahan in Madhya Pradesh.
Essar filed a defamation suit against Greenpeace and others in the High Court after the volunteers of the latter unfurled a huge banner from the Essar House at Mahalaxmi here saying “We kill forests.”
In the notice of motion, Essar averred that the defendants have “acted maliciously and with a oblique motive of somehow furthering their narrow political agenda at the cost of the Essar Group’s image, reputation and goodwill.”
The affidavit referred to media reports which said “Intelligence Bureau in its confidential report to the Central Government said the activities of the defendants were heavily funded by donors and supporters based in US and Europe, primarily in Germany, Netherlands and Scandinavian countries whose intention appears to internationalise and publicise the alleged violation in international fora so as to negatively impact economic development in India and in particular mapped out Indian coal mining companies from developing domestic coal fields.”
“It is but obvious that the development of domestic coal fields will reduce dependence on imported coal and hurt the economic interests of foreign coal producers and/or sellers,” the affidavit said.
“If the foreign contributors to Greepeace India, i.e Defendant no 3, are linked to this who stand to derive economic advantage from perpetuating India’s dependence on imported coal and/or India’s economic development, then this is a matter of serious concern,” the affidavit further said.
Essar further prayed that these issues may be considered while deciding the notice of motion.
Justice S J Kathawala, taking the affidavit on record, has posted the matter for hearing on June 30.