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THE TRACK AT THE MAHALAKSHMI RACE COURSE, in Mumbai, runs around a large field that almost touches the Arabian Sea. As horses gallop to the finish line, they pass the course’s colonial-era grandstand, just behind which stands the high column of Essar House. On the twentieth floor of this building, the billionaire brothers Ess and Ar—Shashi and Ravi Ruia—sit in two corners of a shared office, a room nearly 30 feet long.
The chrome and glass exterior of Essar House usually mirrors the green sward of the race course, but not on the afternoon of 22 January 2014. A little after 1pm on that day, six people dangling off the facade, ostensibly hired to clean it, dropped a large white banner. On the sheet, 72 feet long and 36 feet wide, was a message: “We Kill Forests: Essar.”
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