No basis for Press Reports tarnishing reputation of Environment Support Group

Press Release : Bangalore : 23 January 2007

Environment Support Group (ESG), a registered not for profit, public interest research, training and campaign initiative, hereby seeks to clarify that the reports which have appeared on 23 January 2007 in The Times of India (page 3) entitled "ECIA joins BMIC for peripheral road", The New Indian Express (page 2) entitled "Peripheral Road: and in Prajavani (page 2) entitled "Government's arguments in Court - Environmental Groups misleading Court" are factually incorrect, misleading and defamatory.

In substance these dailies have reported that ESG's Impleading Application in Writ Petition 17550/2006 (B. K. Chakrapani vs State of Karnataka and others) in the High Court of Karnataka, has been opposed by the Urban Development Department of the Government of Karnataka on grounds that the Application has been motivated and instigated to help vested interests. The reports further state that ESG has deliberately suppressed material facts with a view to mislead the Hon'ble Court.

ESG strongly objects to such allegations that have been carried in the press as they are wholly incorrect. In this regard we therefore find it necessary to make the following clarifications:

1) The Karnataka State Urban Development Department has not filed any objections whatsoever opposing the Impleading Application of ESG in WP 17550/2006. Infact, on 22 January 2007, the Urban Development Department filed its Objection Statement to the Main Petition charging the petitioner (B. K. Chakrapani) of having filed the petition "at the behest and instance of Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises Ltd., ….." (p 1). It was further contended by the State that the "petitioner has deliberately suppressed several facts" (p 2).

2) ESG had moved its Impleading Application in Court on 08 January 2007 and the Hon'ble High Court of Karnataka directed that it be filed in the registry. On 08 January 2007 the Petitioner (i.e. Chakrapani) sought time to file objections to the Impleading Application and the matter was adjourned to 22 January 2007.

3) On 22 January 2007, when the matter came up for hearing, the Petitioner once more sought time from the Hon'ble Court stating that the State of Karnataka had filed its objection statement to the main petition only on that day and that time was needed to go through the details. The Hon'ble Court observed that the Government's statements were "placed on record to assist the Court in understanding and appreciating correct position" and the matter was adjourned to 31 January 2007.

4) Except the Petitioner, no other Respondent has filed any objections opposing the Impleading Application filed by ESG.

Keeping the above in view, the press reports have grossly distorted ESG's involvement in the Court proceedings, and further, have unnecessarily attacked the credibility of the organisation and its Coordinator, by carrying allegations that the Impleading Application was opposed by the Government of Karnataka as being motivated by some vested interests without verifying the true facts.

ESG strongly protests such unfounded insinuations, allegations and misreporting of ongoing legal proceedings. As a result ESG's credibility has been severely damaged.

We place on record that unless proportionate corrective action is immediately taken, ESG will be compelled to initiate appropriate civil and criminal action.

Leo F. Saldanha
Environment Support Group ®