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Essar phone-tapping issue had been subject of PIL 2 years ago

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:49 IST

Long before Delhi Supreme Court lawyer Suren Uppal filed his complaint about the Essar Group's alleged illegal tapping of the phones of VVIPs between 2001 and 2006, an NGO had filed a PIL on the same issue with the Supreme Court.

The NGO, International Civil Enforcement Group of Anti-Terrorism Ethics (ICEGATE), which 'spreads awareness of impact of terrorism', filed a PIL on 3 February, 2014, alleging that Essar had indulged in "illegal telephone tapping", says The Indian Express.

While Uppal filed his own PIL in the Delhi High Court on Wednesday, seeking a court investigation into the matter by a special investigation team, the NGO's PIL naming a senior Essar official and Albasit Khan as respondents in the matter, had been referred back to the petitioner as it was 'defective'.

Albasit Khan is a former Essar head of security who was allegedly in charge of the illegal monitoring of the phones of ministers, bureaucrats and industrialists.

ICEGATE now says that it will file a review petition in the Supreme Court over the PIL.

According to Mikkael Maher Alwalley, director of ICEGATE, an 'associate' of Khan contacted a member of the NGO in September 2012, after which ICEGATE wrote "approximately 180 letters" to the CBI, the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Defence, between September 2012 and December 2013. The NGO then filed a PIL in February 2014.

Uppal's PIL lists 13 people as respondents, including Mukesh Ambani, Anil Ambani and senior Essar officials Prashant Ruia, Shashikant Ruia and Ravikant Ruia.

Uppal's petition states: "...It is respectfully submitted that I am in possession of approximately 20 crucial CDs that contain very vital conversations and also incriminating hand-written log-books and other relevant documents that substantiate the unlawful and illegal happenings which allegedly related to the illegal and unlawful tapping, interception and recording of the phone calls."

First published: 23 June 2016, 7:42 IST