This story, by Ajith Pillai and Murali Krishnan
, tested the nerves of Outlook
. It was a head-on collision with the Vajpayee regime and there was a huge backlash after we stated the truth. The story revealed how two individuals in the PMO, PM’s principal secretary Brajesh Mishra and OSD for economic affairs N.K. Singh, were influencing policy decisions to suit a clutch of business houses like Reliance, Essar and Hindujas. It also spoke of the modus operandi they employed to execute the job, overwhelm ministries and even the cabinet. For instance, using their South Block contacts, the Hindujas wangled, in a blatantly incorrect fashion, a counter-guarantee for their project in Andhra Pradesh.
There were nearly a dozen examples cited to substantiate the charge of rigging that was made. Sample this: "Take the case of the provision of counter-guarantee for the Reliance group’s Rs 20,000-crore Hirma power project in Orissa. The finance ministry had objected to the guarantee as, in its...