After a report on Adani Group on Thursday, the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) has now published a report on Vedanta, a prominent mining conglomerate, claiming that the company allegedly lobbied discreetly to dilute environmental norms during the COVID-19 crisis.
What Happened? The report suggests that Anil Agarwal, Vedanta Group’s Chairman, approached the former environment minister, Prakash Javadekar, in January 2021. Agarwal proposed that by permitting mining firms to ramp up production by 50% without additional environmental clearances, the government could accelerate India’s economic rebound.
Furthermore, Cairn India, Vedanta’s oil subsidiary, reportedly pushed for the removal of public hearings for exploratory drilling in oil blocks it secured in government tenders.
Vedanta’s rebuttal: Responding to these claims, Vedanta emphasised its commitment to bolstering domestic production sustainably. A company spokesperson told OCCRP, “As one of India’s leading natural resources organisations, our operations aim for import substitution by enhancing domestic production sustainably.”
The spokesperson also highlighted Vedanta’s continuous efforts to liaise with the government, asserting that their representations always prioritise national development and India’s self-reliance on natural resources.
This isn’t the first time OCCRP has spotlighted an Indian conglomerate; they previously reported on the Adani Group’s alleged use of “opaque” funds for stock investments.
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