Ster­lite tried to bribe: Union min

The Asian Age - - Nation -

Be­lea­guered Ster­lite has a new thun­der­bolt strik­ing it. This time it is the union min­is­ter of state for ship­ping Pon Rad­hakr­ish­nan al­leg­ing that the cop­per smelt­ing gi­ant made an at­tempt to bribe him.

“Dur­ing 1998 Lok sabha polls, I re­jected the elec­tion funds of­fered by Ster­lite in­dus­tries. I also re­jected the ' deals', which came to me from the com­pany to en­sure their op­er­a­tions in Tamil Nadu,” the se­nior lo­cal BJP leader said while ad­dress­ing a func­tion held at the Tu­ti­corin port on Mon­day.

No­tably, this has trig­gered an­other de­bate on the com­pany that is al­ready fac­ing protests from the pub­lic for more than two months seek­ing its per­ma­nent clo­sure.

“In 1996, I ob­served a fast against Ster­lite but there was no sup­port for me from the pub­lic as they felt that the fac­tory would give them job op­por­tu­ni­ties, but now the same pub­lic are protest­ing against the com­pany”, the min­is­ter said blam­ing both the DMK and the AIADMK for al­low­ing Ster­lite to be set up their plant in Tamil Nadu.

“Sim­i­larly I was the first per­son to protest against the Ko­danku­lam project. In fu­ture, the pub­lic should de­cide on what pro­jects they want and they should protest against any anti en­vi­ron­ment project dur­ing the early stage,” the min­is­ter said.

Com­ment­ing on the Cau­very im­broglio, the min­is­ter again blamed both the Dra­vid­ian ma­jors. Tamil out­fits and film di­rec­tors fail to un­der­stand the politics played by DMK and the AIADMK and are protest­ing against the Cen­tre for the Cau­very fi­asco, he al­leged.

The min­is­ter re­cently made an al­le­ga­tion that the politi­cians in the state took money from Ster­lite. Last week, district col­lec­tor N. Venkatesh warned ac­tion against Ster­lite protesters if the pub­lic peace was dis­turbed. Tamil Nadu Pol­lu­tion Con­trol had also re­cently sus­pended the re­newal ap­pli­ca­tion of Ster­lite plant.

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