Westminster secretly lobbied the Indian government to give the go-ahead to a controversial multi-billion pound deal with a leading Scottish oil company, internal emails passed to the Sunday Herald reveal.
UK government officials, briefed "over dinner" by Edinburgh-based Cairn Energy, offered to "polish" and send a letter drafted by the company. At a lunch, they also urged a key Indian government minister to back the deal. The Indian government subsequently gave permission for Cairn's £5.5 billion agreement to sell off the bulk of its Indian oil business to Vedanta, an Indian mining and metals giant much criticised by human rights and environmental groups. The deal, labelled "the largest transaction ever to happen in India", is now being challenged in the Indian Supreme Court.
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