A petition was on Friday filed in the Supreme Court seeking a court-monitored probe by an SIT or CBI into alleged “political-bureaucratic-corporate nexus” saying corporates use their money power to change public policies, and grant favours to politicians and bureaucrats for receiving benefits in return.
The PIL, filed by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), said corporates used their money and influence to plant stories in media and there was a need for the government to cancel the privileges like subsidised land, newsprint and houses extended to media organisations and journalists who indulge in paid news, or publishing news reports to favour corporates.
The petition filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan said it is based on internal emails and documents from Essar Group of Companies, which is one of India’s leading business conglomerate having multi-billion dollar investments in oil, steel, energy, ports, shipping, infrastructure and services sectors in India.
“This information is being placed before the Court by the petitioner’s society for its kind consideration and appropriate directions,” the petition said giving details of how since 2009 onwards top officials exchanged intra official mails indicating the alleged nexus of politicians, bureaucrats and corporates.
The PIL also sought framing of guidelines to curb favours being bestowed on public servants or those who can exercise influence over government officials.
The petition has sought framing of guidelines on three key issues related to “phenomenon of corporate gifts and favours being bestowed on public servants or on those who can exercise influence over public servants; access, meetings and interviews between the ministers and bureaucracy and the representatives/employees of commercial interests including consultants, facilitators, middlemen and lobbyists; and issue of paid news/stories planted in the media through journalists who are conferred various favours by corporate houses.” Referring to the leaked in-house communications of senior officials of the company, the PIL alleged that the group was “apparently planting questions in Parliament”.
“The petitioner society requests this court to direct a thorough investigation into these disclosures since they might involve high level corruption and sanctity of Parliament which is vital for democracy,” the plea, filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan, said.
It claimed that internal notes and e-mails of corporate house “reveal how the company has institutionalised a mechanism to bestow significant favours, monetary benefits and shower gifts on persons with influence