News Story

Radia Exposed: Reason for quit

by Vaidehi Sachin

niira-radia_5.jpgNiira Radia is the first woman to venture into power-broking profession in India or perhaps in Asia. With non-professional and informal way of conversing; Radia has exhibited class talent in the PR industry. Whether, it is a conventional industrialist like Tata or a person with flexible morals like Air India CMD Sunil Arora, she is their partner in scandal. Raj’s love for Kani, Kani’s irritation at such a possibility is recorded in some comic conversations that give us an idea of the close proximity Niira Radia had with the rich & resourceful. She talked to Ratan about her black gown and planned out an evening with him wearing a black tie, she talked to Tarun Das about his son’s kundli and to Sunil Arora about corruption in judiciary. Here S.H.E refers to Niira herself which symbolises Secret Haphazard Agent.

For the first time India’s Income Tax department intercepted 5,000 telephonic conversations between Niira Radia and her clients which exposed  what is now known as the 2G spectrum allocation scam from which the nation lost money worth Rs.1,76,379 crore (1.763 trillion) rupees (roughly equivalent to 39 billion US dollars) based on 3G auction prices.

An intellectual like Dr. Manmohan Singh, the first non politician to occupy the office of PM came under scanner of the Supreme Court for not making his government act upon the plans of Raja that were disclosed in the correspondence with PMO; which were to cause losses to the nation. Also to fall under scanner is another intellectual P. Chidambaram for siding by A. Raja’s decision not to auction the spectrum. It is painful to learn why these international finance wizards did not prevent the loss of taxpayers’ money which was clearly visible to them. 

For the first time perhaps Indian Telegraph Act was enforced so extensively against a single individual who has no authenticity in either business or politics or a profession such as CA, or ICWA or anything alike. The power-broker facilitated an understanding among politicians on the sharing of portfolios, co-coordinating among media-persons operating as touts, extracting details of bribery in judiciary from person as high in rank as Air India CMD, sharing a dress-code conversation with  Ratan Tata which is uncharacteristic, getting Barkha Dutt-Vir Sanghvi types of journo to work round the clock for portfolio lobbying and sharing details of their meetings with Ahmed Patel and Ghulam Nabi….  the list is unending.

The contents of over 5,000 conversations intercepted by I-T expose the rot in almost all sophisticated professions that demand high academic standards along with highest level of integrity. Judiciary has also become a commercial tool for the bigwigs.  Anil Ambani’s modus-operandi of managing high courts, judges’ mechanism of leaking out judgment before its pronouncement, settling a judgment for crores of rupees are among few crucial disclosures against which no action has been taken by the administration.

In one such conversation, Air India CMD Sunil Arora elaborates on paying 9 crore rupees to a Delhi High Court judge named Virendra Jain for passing a judgement in his favour and then the same judge was promoted to the rank of  Chief Justice. The matter was related to a land-dispute as disclosed in the conversation. There has been no investigation launched as yet into this matter. Arora also stated that this Jain was close to Sabharwal, the then Chief Justice of India. It may be recalled that four media-persons were booked for contempt of court when they exposed that Sabharwal had wanted to set up a mall-construction firm in Delhi for which Cheif Justice Sabharwal had ordered demolition of small shops. The registered office of this firm was the official residence of Justcie Sabharwal in Delhi. He committed this misdeed before being elevated as Chief Justice of India and his successor, Justice K.G. Balakrishnan refused permission to initiate an enquiry into the same.

The Central Bureau of Investigations found Ms. Radia as a valuable witness to bring both the culprits occupying important seats to books. Initial times of hectic interrogations of Niira Radia created an impression that she would be arrested as an accused. However, such a thing did not happen. Neither was she mentioned in the political blame game between the UPA and the opposition. Also, the Supreme Court that went out of its way to take an in-depth interest in the historic case known as the 2G-scam. However, it did not make any reference to the Woman who laid foundation of the whole episode. There were some sessions conducted by Enforcement Directorate and I-T with her, there were also searches conducted at her offices and house, but that is all. Nothing was done further. Why is it so? 

[Excerpts of conversations with Ratan Tata, Sunil Arora, Barkha Dutt and A. Raja]

Here are excerpts of a conversation between Niira and Barkha

Barkha Dutt: Hi Niira

Niira Radia:  Hi, did I wake you up?

Barkha Dutt: No, no, no. I’ve been up, yaa, most of the night. The stalemate continues, yaa.

Niira Radia:  Yeah. Listen, the thing is that they need to talk to him directly. That is what the problem is.

Barkha Dutt: Apparently now, the message from the other side is, that why did he go? Why did Baalu [T.R. Baalu, former DMK minister] go public? They claim that at this point will they had offered him this formula and this guys said, “no”. This guys never told them they were going to withdraw support. Not withdraw support. But outside support. Apparently, PM was really pissed off ' cause they had went public.

Niira Radia:  But that’s Baalu’s doing, naa… he was not instructed by Karunanidhi to do that.

Barkha Dutt: Oh, he wasn’t?

Niira Radia:  This is not. He was told to come away and tell Congress that.

Barkha Dutt: And he went public

Niira Radia:  Well, the media… media, the media was standing outside.

Barkha Dutt: Oh God. So now what? What should I tell them? Tell me what should I tell them?

Niira Radia:  I’ll tell you what it is—the problem and I have had a long chat with both his wife and with the daughter, right?

Barkha Dutt: Haan, haan.

Niira Radia:  The problem is if the Congress has a problem with Baalu, if they have no problem with anyone. They need and go talk to Karunanidhi. They have very good relationship with Karunanidhi directly.

Barkha Dutt: Correct, haan.

Niira Radia:  Because you see, in front of Baalu, in front of Maran, they can’t talk.

Barkha Dutt: Yeah

Niira Radia:  So they have to tell him directly, there [are] enough Congress leaders in Tamil Nadu. They need to go in and tell him exactly—the biggest problem is that the following of Azhagiri is saying that you cannot give Maran a cabinet post and keep Azhagiri in the MoS state.

Barkha Dutt: That’s right. But will Karuna drop Baalu?

Niira Radia:  He… look, if you tell him that Baalu is the only problem. I would imagine, he will drop him.

Barkha Dutt: But you see the problem right now is also over the choice of portfolios, naa…

Niira Radia:  No. They’ve not said anything. The portfolios have not even got discussed.

Barkha Dutt: Congress claims, for whatever it’s worth, that the DMK wanted surface transport, power, IT, telecom, railways and health.

Niira Radia:  Wo tho pehle se list gaya tha

Barkha Dutt: Haa, abhi Congress has offered IT, telecom, chemical, fertilizer and labour

Niira Radia:  Yes

Barkha Dutt: So this is where it’ll stand off. Will DMK accept all (or both)?

Niira Radia:  Maybe no, because they have to drop Maran if you want them to be accept… Maran is wishing coal and mine.

Barkha Dutt: Who’s wishing?

Niira Radia:  Now Maran is saying, you give me coal and more mine. If he.. my honest advice to… is that you need to tell them… tell him directly that we are happy because Kani (M.K.Kanimozhi, Karundanidhi's daughter) got no issue about being even as independent but Azhagiri is now telling her that you cannot take an independent charge if Maran remains cabinet minister. And congress is sending messages through media and through various sources saying that… Maran is going around telling everyone that he is the only acceptable person.

Barkha Dutt: Ya, ya, ya. That I know.

Niira Radia:  But that’s not correct na?

Barkha Dutt: No, I know and we’ve (NDTV) have taken that off… We’ve have taken that off.

Niira Radia:  But also… Congress needs to tell Karunanidhi that we have not said anything about Maran

Barkha Dutt: OK. let me talk to them again

Niira Radia:  Yeah? The choice of candidate we will leave to you. We have some reservation about Baalu. And let them tell the reservation. And we have not said anything about Maran. We are not asking…

Download Audio file of the conversation of Niira Radia and Barkha Dutt

Here are excerpts of conversation between Radia and Ranjan.

Ranjan Bhattacharya: Oh okay, so let me understand what you are saying... the family guys are okay to get MoS, more or less.

Niira Radia: Both the…

Ranjan Bhattacharya: Provided, provided this Maran boy does not get cabinet... right?

Niira Radia: Correct, correct.

Ranjan Bhattacharya: And they are best, there are people outside the family and outside the Congress who are pushing for Maran, right?

Niira Radia: And Sunil Mittal’s name is one of them.

Ranjan Bhattacharya: Listen I, I mean talking to Sunil is no point because obviously he has got this thing. Between you and me, I have a great line to Ghulam Nabi, for whatever he counts.

Niira Radia: I have been sending him a message since morning, I told Mukesh also to speak to him and tell him to speak to Kani, because Kani will take him directly to her father. They really spoiled it for themselves because they could have got away with two cabinet berths.

Ranjan BhattacharyaAb unke tiin dene paRenge

Niira RadiaAb tiin dene paRenge. Yeh Baalu ko bhi drop karvaa sakte thhe kyuunki unhe keh sakte thhe Thiik hai, now they have to go through the whole process of three. They will have to be… again this whole argument that will happen, ke tiin mein kaun include ho. Raja include hogaa, Azhagiri include hogaa, Maran ko include karenge, toh baki tumhaare Tamil leaders jo is baari elections jiit ke aayenge voh kahenge hamara kya hogaa?

Ranjan Bhattacharya: I mean exactly aur yeh toh biich mein bhag gayaa thha

Niira Radia: Maran was the big challenge, and not because I do not like the guy, but genuinely that was a big problem. Maran kept on saying that both Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel have said to him that he, they want him to be in the Cabinet and that he is the only who is an acceptable face.

Ranjan Bhattacharya: I do not think. How can a Congress guy, I mean if somebody had told me PM has said it or Sonia said it... How can a Ghulam Nabi Azad or Ahmed Patel insist on [it]? It is like saying aapke ghar mein main tai karun

Niira RadiaUnhone insist nahiiN kiyaa hai, unhone kahaa hai humko Congress ko kya acceptable hai woh hai Dayanidhi Maran, so Karunanidhi got awfully confused. The second thing that came up with Congress… said well but Karunanidhi took Maran with him to the UPA meeting, that is because Kani had disappeared somewhere else, visited somewhere else, and he does not consider woh toh Chennai mein kissi ko bhi apne saath le jaata hai

Ranjan Bhattacharya: Exactly, aisaa kyaa hai, usse koi angrezi, ungrezi samajhne waala bhi chahiye

Niira RadiaToh usko isliye le ke gayaa thha kyuunki Baalu nahin thha. Kani was not available. Well, he had not, and no one person has been appointed to negotiate, Maran is not the point person to negotiate.

Ranjan BhattacharyaAchcha aisa hai, yeh toh abhi jaa raha hai apni swearing-in pe, meri abhi kisi se baat hui toh Ghulam, GNA, is being sworn in, naa [It is like this, he is going for his swearing-in, I just spoke to someone, Ghulam, GNA is being sworn in, no].

Niira Radia: What is he getting?

Ranjan Bhattacharya: Bhai, they are not admitting it,mil toh raha hai aur usko liya bhi iss liye jaa raha hai, he is getting Parliamentary Affairs basically. Being a senior guy, he will be basically Parliamentary Affairs Minister… only has job for three months, nau mahiine kya karegaa. So he is lobbying for something, but abhii tak inhone tai toh nahin kiya

Niira Radia: Tell them to give him aviation, Praful ko baahar rakho

Ranjan Bhattacharya: Nahin, Praful ne toh raat ko itna drama kiyaa; apparently, they toh at midnight jaa ke Praful ko aviation bolaa hai, par Praful ki aaj swearing-in nahin hai

Niira Radia: Yeah, I know that.

Ranjan BhattacharyaInki sabki Tuesday ki hai.

Niira Radia: MoS hai.

Ranjan Bhattacharya: MoS hai, independent.

Ranjan BhattacharyaAur mujhko Ramesh Sharma called up bahut achcha hai hamare Anand Sharma ho rahein hain, my information is Anand Sharma nahin hain
Niira Radia: Anand Sharma hai isme

Ranjan BhattacharyaNahin hai, yeh sab media ne…

Niira RadiaMujhe Mukesh ne bola

Ranjan BhattacharyaChalo dekhte hain, mere ko nahiiN lagtaa hai

Niira Radia: Elevated to Cabinet.

Ranjan Bhattacharya: Nahin, Cabinet, par abhii aaj uskaa abhii media chalaa rahaa hai at least tiin ghante pehle tak naa usko chithhi aai thhi, naa Mukul Wasnik ko chithhi aai thhi

Niira RadiaAchcha

Ranjan Bhattacharya: But I don’t know.

Niira Radia: …

Ranjan Bhattacharya: So is Mukesh happy with...?

Niira Radia: Very happy.

Ranjan Bhattacharya: (Laughs) You know what he told me.

Niira Radia: What?

Ranjan Bhattacharya: He tells me, he says, you know, he is in his usual style, kya kyo, I told him ‘Mera chhodo, kya kyo, aapko kya hai

Niira Radia: Hmm

Ranjan Bhattacharya: He says, Sir, theek hai. I said, Mukesh, once in a while show some bloody emotion. Aapka to sab kaam ho gaya (all your work’s been done).

Niira Radia: Hmm.

Ranjan BhattacharyaMotu nahin aaya, yeh nahin hua (fatty didn’t make it). He replied, ‘Haan yaar, you know Ranjan, you’re right, ab to Congress apni dukaan hai (now the Congress is our shop).’

Niira Radia: (Laughs) Why has Bhardwaj not come in?

Ranjan Bhattacharya: Who?

Niira Radia: Bhardwaj?

Ranjan Bhattacharya: Who is not coming, sorry?

Niira Radia: Bhardwaj, Bhardwaj

Ranjan Bhattacharya: I cannot understand, sorry.

Niira Radia: Bhardwaj, law minister.

Ranjan Bhattacharya: Bharadwaj! Oh yeah, he has done such a lot of kabaaRaa, and especially in those two cases now where CBI then botched it up in both the DA ke assets. These are all under law ministries' instructions, so they are pretty pissed off with him. I think they are also now getting in the core guys and then the youngsters, but now I wonder who will get law; will Kapil get it, I dunno?

Niira Radia: I wonder, I wonder, maybe Kapil only.

Ranjan Bhattacharya: Um, hmm?

Niira Radia: Maybe.

Ranjan Bhattacharya: But lawyer toh wohi hai par

Niira Radia: Oh yes. No, Ranjan, when you speak to Ghulam, you should tell him that they really messed it up, haan?

Ranjan Bhattacharya: No, so now basically you want me to convey ki aap Kanimozhi ke through jaa ke buddhe ko seedha milo, yai hai na.

Niira RadiaAgar tum log jo list tumhe bheji thhi uspe agar Baalu or Maran ko mana kar dete toh tumhaaraa problem solve ho jaataa

Ranjan BhattacharyaBhai, ab toh woh nahin hua toh ab kya karna hai

Niira RadiaAbhi unko Kanimozhi ke paas they have to call her and go directly and meet Karunanidhi. They have to relay two things, they do not want to give infrastructure to Baalu or Maran.

Niira Radia: They have no issue where Raja is concerned, kyuunki unhe pataa hi hai even if they have an issue, the old man is going to bring Raja; he is very clear about that. So don’t antagonise him, because he has got Dalit as now they will have to give Azhagiri one, Raja one and one maybe they will give to another leader from Tamil Nadu, or they will, just so that they keep this whole controversy out, they will give it to Baalu only, and then drop Maran altogether and give Kani an independent charge.

Ranjan Bhattacharya: So Azhagiri independent charge or Cabinet, they are okay with it.

Niira Radia: Azhagiri in Cabinet because tiin ho gayaa toh Azhagiri ko denaa hi paRegaa

Ranjan Bhattacharya: Okay, but this will happen only late, it will only happen late night.

Niira Radia: Yeah, but if they keep Maran out, maybe they will be able to still get away with two.

Ranjan Bhattacharya: Oh, okay.

Niira Radia: Which will then make this guy come out quite well ... Karunanidhi, saying, ‘Forget about what the channels are saying about me, or Jayalalitha is saying, both my children are taking MoS independent and I am bringing Baalu and Raja to be the cabinet ministers, they are not my family.’

Ranjan Bhattacharya: Okay, now listen, I mean GNA channel is there, if I send word straight to SG, is that better?

Niira Radia: SG is... kaun?

Ranjan Bhattacharya: (Laughs) SG is SG boss.

Niira Radia: Oh, beg your pardon, sorry I didn’t get, haan yeah, yeah, bhijwaa doh

Ranjan Bhattacharya: Because that then I can achieve in the morning. I am meeting somebody.

Niira RadiaPar tum isko GNA ko bhi bol doh [you tell this to GNA as well], he is handling Tamil Nadu.

Ranjan Bhattacharya: I know, Thiik hai

Niira Radia: Tell him they are being misled by this guy Maran.

Ranjan Bhattacharya: Okay

Download Audio file of the conversation of Niira Radia and Rajan Bhattacharya

Here are excerpts of conversation between Niira and Raja

Niira Radia: Hello?

A. Raja: Raja here

Niira Radia: Hi! I got a message from Barkha Dutt just now

A. Raja: Huh?

Niira Radia: Barkha Dutt

A. Raja: What does she say?

Niira Radia: She says… that she has been following up the story with Prime Minister’s Office tonight. In fact, she was the one who told me that Sonia Gandhi went there. She says that he has no problem with you, but he has a problem with Baalu

A. Raja: …but it has to be discussed with Leader

Niira Radia: yeah, yeah… he has to discuss with the Leader. He has to tell…

A. Raja: It will be discussed in the morning… why unnecessarily Congress… [indiscernible] tie-up is going out

Niira Radia: No, but then the question is about Azhagiri, no?

A. Raja: Huh?

Niira Radia: Azhagiri’s people are saying: why is Maran getting Cabinet when he is such a senior leader himself?

A. Raja: That is different, but all these things must be explored and disclosed

Niira Radia: That’s right. That’s right. I told her to get Congress…

A. Raja: At least, one to one, let it be disclosed to Leader

Niira Radia: One to one?

A. Raja: One to one. Somebody should give a message, at least in a sealed cover, that we are having serious problems to Baalu

Niira Radia: From Congress, right?

A. Raja: Yes

Niira Radia: Okay, I’ll tell her. She is talking to Ahmed Patel, so I will talk to him

A. Raja: Let him [sic] call at least over phone: Sir, this is problem… we are having high regard, we are having no problem with Raja, but problem is Baalu. Tell.

Niira Radia: Then how will you resolve the other problem?

A. Raja: Other problems we will take care of slowly, because now Leader comes down

Niira Radia: Uh huh.

A. Raja: Don’t worry

Niira Radia: Now Leader comes down to three, no?

A. Raja: Comes down for [sic] three…

Niira Radia: Yeah

A. Raja: Even you are saying that Maran is not fit for infrastructure… he is having controversy… alright, let him be accommodated in the existing ministry… at least we will suggest
Niira Radia: Maran?

A. Raja: Hmm… you suggest, you send a message

Niira Radia: Uh, huh

A. Raja: Okay

Niira Radia: Okay

Download Audio file of the conversation of Niira Radia and A Raja
Transcript main source: From the petition submitted to SC. If you find any errors in the transcript, please help us by pointing it out in the comments section

It is a sweet co-incidence that the Radia issue took place during the times when the world was taking various initiatives towards Empowerment of Women. We had Mrs. Sonia Gandhi heading the UPA advisory, Mrs. Pratibha Patil as the first female President of India, Ms. Condoleezaa Rice followed by Ms. Clinton as the Secretary of State of America, Ms. Indra Nooyi, Ms. Chanda Kochhar and others heading MNCs with women taking over as Heads of Nations all over the globe. 
Our visionaries in legislature, executive, judiciary and the media have somehow got confined to only the spectrum-allocation aspect of the Radia tapes, ignoring the other skeletons they have in their closet, crucial among them being various judiciary-related matters. Then there is the Boeing deal Radia refers to in her conversation with Ratan Tata for which Praful Patel has brought in Sunil Arora as the CMD of national carrier Air India. What was this of this Boeing deal. To what extent the national interest was served or sacrificed? These aspects are as important as the 2G scam. Not to mention Air India has incurred many losses over the years. An enquiry may land Arora mad mentor Praful Patel in Tihar jail just like A.Raja. Similar may be the fate of some judges who are mentioned in the tapes, if matters are investigated.
It is a golden chance for India to clear the rot once and for all from our system and it seems that we are missing the chance to do so.