According to a US consul cable, the company pays Maoists significant amounts not to harm or interfere with its operations in Chattisgarh. Company denies statement
Washington: A leaked US diplomatic cable has said that the Ruias-led Essar Group, which has mining interests in Chhattisgarh, pays protection money to Maoists to safeguard its operations in the state. However, the company has dismissed this suggestion as baseless.
"A senior representative from Essar, a major industrial company with large mining and steel-related facilities in Chhattisgarh, told Congenoff (Consul General Office) that the company pays the Maoists 'a significant amount' not to harm or interfere with their operations," a cable dated 11 January 2010, originating from the US consulate in Mumbai and released by WikiLeaks stated.
"When the Maoists occasionally break this agreement and damage Essar property, or threaten personnel, Essar sets different Maoist groups against each other to suppress the situation," it said.
The cable said the Maoists pose a real threat to development and security in the region and efforts to bring these areas back into the orbit of the government is warranted, reports PTI.
The Essar group has denied the statement as baseless. "Essar is a law-abiding corporate. We don't think it is appropriate or necessary to react to baseless and unfounded allegations," the company spokesperson said.
While government authorities and the police are engaged with the Naxals, the US consulate, based on a trip by its officials to the region, also said that the potential for human rights abuses by security forces was high.