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India's 2nd richest company says it takes exception to news reports that its officials armtwisted politicians

Mukesh Ambani is chairman, managing director, and the largest shareholder of Reliance Industries Limited. He is seen here with his wife Nita. Photograph: (Getty)

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Jun 18, 2016, 03.50 PM (IST)
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), India's second-most valuable company, said on Friday that it took exception to media reports which suggested the company's top officials had armtwisted politicians for business gain. 

The media reports are based on phone taps allegedly made by another Indian company – the Essar Group. The taps were recorded over a six-year period by a former Essar employee and now make up a 29-page complaint submitted to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi by a Supreme Court lawyer, Suren Uppal, who says he represents the former Essar employee.

“We are shocked at reports which suggest that we have been victims of unauthorised and illegal tapping of our telephones. Conversations attributed to us are false and appear to have been doctored by someone who seeks to defame us,” said a statement released by the RIL spokesperson.

The media reports allege the tapped conversations reveal businessmen soliciting favours from politicians, the widespread peddling of influence in the corridors of power, “corruption in the business milieu”, and the blurring of lines between business and government.

The list of people tapped is a lit who's who and include current Indian railway minister Suresh Prabhu, current Indian minister of state for power with independent charge Piyush Goel, former national security adviser Brajesh Mishra, prominent politician Mulayam Singh Yadav, film actor Amitabh Bachchan, bureaucrats and, of course, RIL chief Mukesh Ambani and his brother Anil Ambani.

The statement released by the company said that it had, at all times, abided by the law of the land – in letter and in spirit – “in all our actions and business activities and any suggestion of any wrongdoing was plainly false”. 

The company demanded that action be taken against these “malicious falsehoods” and that the alleged violation of their privacy be taken seriously. It added that it would cooperate fully with the authorities in the matter.
The main Indian opposition party the Congress meanwhile demanded that the tapes be made public, and that the people would be the “best judge” of their veracity. “The allegations are serious and multifaceted implications, but most importantly if those tapes exist, they need to be made public because the people need to know as to what is going on,” Congress leader Manish Tewari told ANI.
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