Background briefing

Anil Agarwal - Chairman of Vedanta Resources

Anil Agarwal, Chairman and founder of Vedanta Resources, has worked his way up from scrap-metal dealer to billionaire with a home in London’s Mayfair and another in Mumbai.

The tricks to his trade have been to buy cheap second-hand industrial plants, and newly-privatised companies at low prices.

Power and influence

With increasing wealth has come increasing power. Mr Agarwal donated considerable sums to the two biggest political parties in India.

The advisory committee of India’s Supreme Court has stated that the way in which Vedanta’s Lanjigarh refinery secured environmental clearance ‘smacks of undue favour/leniency’. A top panel of experts put together by India’s Environment Minister has described the ‘appalling degree of collusion’ of local officials with Vedanta’s ‘total contempt for the law’.

Norway’s Council on Ethics details how Vedanta and Mr Agarwal have been accused of ‘corruption, fraud, forgery, manipulation of share prices, and insider trading.’

Agarwal’s empire

Mr Agarwal’s empire – Vedanta Resources – now spans four continents, with offices in London and operations in Zambia, Australia and India.

He owns more than 50% of the shares in the company, earning him a place among the richest thirty people in Britain.

Vedanta Resources was criticised by the UK government for not having a human rights policy. The government said ‘a change in the company’s behaviour’ is ‘essential’.

Behind the Lies

Due to the mounting tribal protests and international criticism of their actions in Orissa, India, Vedanta initiated a PR offensive extolling their virtues. But this short film reveals how easily their lies and manipulations can be debunked.

Behind the LiesDue to the mounting tribal protests and international criticism of their actions in Orissa, India, Vedanta initiated a PR offensive extolling their virtues. But this short film reveals how easily their lies and manipulations can be debunked.


Anil Agarwal on mining in the Dongria Kondh’s land

The Indian government has now put a stop to Mr Agarwal’s mine on the Dongria’s land, by refusing to issue the necessary clearance.

At Vedanta’s 2008 AGM, Mr Agarwal said, ‘I can only promise that we will only start work if we have the complete permission of the Court and the people.’

In January 2009, Mr Agarwal said that mining would begin ‘in a month or two’.

In August 2010, Mr Agarwal said, ‘We are law abiding people. We will not start mining at all until and unless we get 100% clearance from the authorities concerned.’