Cobrapost stings 11 MPs

DC | DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Dec 13, 2013, 1:57 pm IST
Updated Mar 18, 2019, 11:42 pm IST

New Delhi: The investigative website Cobrapost on Thursday claimed to have  exposed several parliamentarians who were allegedly willing to not only write recommendation letters but also lobby with the Union Ministry of Petroleum for a foreign company to help it secure oil exploration and rigging rights in the Northeast.

The website claimed that its undercover investigation, code named operation Falcon Claw, caught 11 MPs from the Congress Party, the BJP, the JDU, AIADMK and BSP on camera allegedly willing to help the fictitious company set up shop in India.

A press statement issued by the website alleged none of them bothered to check the antecedents of the company or check if the company was real.

“These MPs were willing to promote a fictitious Australian oil  exploration company in exchange for fees ranging between Rs 50,000 to Rs 50 lakh. Six of these MPs even wrote the letters for a fee,” the statement alleged.  

The website claimed that the investigation, panning over a year.

“The parliamentarians who allegedly stand exposed are K. Sugumar and C. Rajendran from the AIADMK; Lalu Bhai Patel, Ravindra Kumar Pandey and Hari Manjhi from the BJP; Vishwa Mohan Kumar, Maheshwar Hazari and Bhudeo Chaudhary from the JD(U); Khiladi Lal Bairwa and Vikrambhai Arjanbhai from the Congress; and Kaiser Jahan from the BSP,” the Cobrapost added.

The statement claimed that all parliamentarians agreed to help. If some of them wrote letters of recommendation addressing the joint secretary with the Petroleum Ministry, others offered to either lobby directly with the ministry mandarins or get the project sanctioned with help from the most mighty among the ruling party.

Six MPs gave Cobrapost under cover agents letters of recommendation in favour of Mediterranean Oil Inc. for a sum ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 75,000. Others demanded not less than Rs 5 lakh for a single letter, and in one case an MP demanded Rs 50 lakh.

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