Outlook Exclusive
800 New Radia Tapes
Some of the key conversations in the second lot of tapes unearthed by Outlook
COMMENTS PRINT
2G SPECTRUM ALLOCATION SCAM
Outlook magazine has unearthed 800 new tapped conversations involving the lobbyist Niira Radia in the 2G spectrum scam.
Saikat Datta, Ajith Pillai, Debarshi Dasgupta, Sunit Arora, Sundeep Dougal

Dec 10, 2010 22:31 IST , 

2.1. 47-188819-0-26-20090522-161405: Radia &Tarun Das
A Raja was already tainted by the 2G spectrum allocation. But in May 2009 Radia tells Das that “(Manmohan Singh)…has indicated ok about Raja to (DMK).” She also assures Das, who is close to Sunil Mittal that “(Raja) will behave himself, trust me, he will behave himself”. Such was Radia’s clout that tainted Raja’s appointment sailed through.

2.2. 25-188819-0-17-20090522-091706: Radia & R.K. Chandolia
Journalists played a key role, says Radia. “Congress ne to statement Thank God issue kar diya. Barkha ne karwaa liyaa us se.” The guy confirms the statement. "Haan woh to maine dekh liya. aa gayaa naa Manish Tewari kaa".  Radia is busy speaking to a “minister” at “2 o' clock” lobbying for Raja. 

[Postscipt: It's been pointed out to us that the gentleman in this audio is Mr  A. Raja's key aide, Mr R.K. Chandolia]

2.3. 11-188819-0-11-20090620-115901: Radia speaks to her colleague Manoj Warrier
A month after the cabinet formation, it is business as usual. They discuss an “income tax matter” for a client who has told them “We are in a fight. Hum logo ke survival ka sawaal hai”. Her client was unhappy that Radia & Co had not briefed journalists well. After all, she says “aisa to nahin…ki Raja ne samjahaya nahin hoga income tax ka implication.” What was the “implication”?

2.4. 11-188819-0-10-20090622-120534 Radia with Sunil Arora
She dictates to 1980-batch IAS officer Sunil Arora  to speak to a journalist for a story critical of aviation minister Praful Patel. “Then I should return his call?” asks Arora. “Of course, of course,” she says. While a key member of India’s administrative steel frame shares an easy camaraderie with Radia, they also discuss a “Rajiv Singh” who is ”in London”.  

Dec 11, 2010 18:31 IST , 

2.5 11-188819-0-13-20090620-162017: Radia with Vir Sanghvi
Radia calls up Vir Sanghvi on June 20, 2009, the day before his Counterpoint column appears in HT. “Wrote it”, says Sanghvi, “I’ve dressed it up as a piece about how public will not stand for resources being cornered, how we’re creating a new list of oligarchs…” Niira Radia replies: “Very nice, lovely, thank you, Vir.” Sanghvi goes on to say, “It’s dressed up as a plea to Manmohan Singh, so it won’t look like an inter-Ambani battle except to people in the know.”

2.6 11-188819-0-15-20090601-143649: Radia with Manoj Warrier
In a conversation with colleague Manoj Warrier on June 1, 2009, Radia discusses a letter being drafted for Reliance Group’s Manoj Modi on a suitable communication plan that will be finally showed to Mukesh Ambani. “You’re expecting us to take care of certain situations,” she asks Warrier to write, adding “I don’t want to go into this whole thing about journalism…gatekeepers”. She also sought a decision on blacklisting PTI – “Are you going to work with Tatas to get them blacklisted…do we have an alternative to PTI.”

2. 7 11-188819-0-15-20090612-104717: Radia with Manoj Warrier
In a chat with Radia on June 12, 2009, colleague Manoj Warrier discusses different headlines in Mumbai and Delhi for the same story that appeared in the Economic Times. Radia asks him to write to ET editor Rahul Joshi that “you have a serious problem with your desk in Delhi”. They also discuss an “incorrect” edit in ET on gas not being given a tax exemption. “I’m surprised (M.K.) Venu  has done that…I’m very surprised,” says Radia. 

2.8 11-188819-0-08-20090618-185014: Radia with Noel Tata
Niira Radia has a chat with Noel Tata on June 18, 2009, discussing the media plan for Trent Ltd’s board agreeing to renew his managing director contract for another five years. “These are the times when the fact that I never speak to anybody come to my rescue,” says Noel Tata. Radia replies, “Which is why I stopped the BusinessWorld story and shifted it to Business Today, because I got the questions I wanted….and not the questions that they wanted.”

Dec 11, 2010 19:45 IST ,

2.9 08-188819-0-03-20090524-163643: Radia and Cecilia
It’s May 24, 2009, and Kanimozhi appears to have opted out of the cabinet race. Niira Radia is talking to Cecilia that Kani will not settle for anything less than a minister with independent charge. She doesn't want to work under Dayanidhi Maran. Her view is that he (Maran) shouldn't be there in the first place. “Don't worry," says Nira, "I think there is still a chance.”

2.10 11-188819-0-03-20090601-140555 Radia with Yatish
Radia talks to employee Yatish. She tells him to prepare the questions for Vir (Sanghvi) of HT since he has agreed to ask whatever questions they suggest. She says that Vir is starting a new series of interviews and he wants to start with Mukesh Ambani or Ratan Tata. She asks Yatish to mobilise all resources to draw up the questions.

2.11 11-188819-0-12-20090529-144000: Radia with Poongothai Aladi Aruna
The conversation has Niira Radia explaining to Tamil Nadu Minister for Information Technology, DMK's Poongothai Aladi Aruna, why Kanimozhi has made a mistake by refusing the MoS portfolio and how she now must remain friends with Azhagiri. “She should have taken the MoS, but she had her own views. Kani must learn to look after herself. This is politics and it is very cut throat, nobody is your friend, nobody is your enemy. I don’t know whether she feels that she's made a mistake and recognises it. Please, you must talk to her and tell her to be friend with Azarigiri. Trust me, it’s very important for them to remains friends.”

2.12 11-188819-0-19-20090529-172935: Radia with Tarun Das
Radia is on the line to Tarun Das, former head of CII. Das says that he had suggested Kamal Nath's name for surface transport ministry. He says Kamal Nath is a doer and can “make his 15 per cent” while doing some national service. Das adds that he had suggested Kamal Nath's name for the portfolio “big time”. Das also says that industry is a new area for Anand Sharma and that they would have to educate and brief him. He also speaks about talking to Montek Singh Ahluwalia about exiting the CII and that he would speak to the PM about it because Montek wants him to. Radia tells Tarun Das that Ratan Tata was very worried about Maran taking over telecom, but is very happy now that Raja has come in.

2.13 11-188819-0-14-20090601-113037: Radia with Srini
Radia discusses setting up a new team to handle Nita Ambani's publicity. Radia refers to an article in Society magazine that has been critical of Nita, saying, “she (Nita) needs to grow up out of that. Radia points out that Simone Tata was also too sensitive, but her PR person Natasha handled Simone well. She believes that maybe Nita will feel comfortable if a lady handles her PR. She feels there is a nice fun side to Nita too and her philanthropy.

2.14 11-188819-0-01-20090531-205054: Radia with Atul
In this May 31, 2009 conversation, Radia tries to manipulate the media against Anil Ambani’s RCom. She talks to one of her colleagues Atul, who looks after regional and vernacular media, trying to highlight some development in Jammu where RCom is involved but the police have not named them. While Atul says that he believes they (RCom) have managed the SSP, Radia says: “Unless the media puts pressure on the SSP to name the operator,” RCom will escape this. Also talks about informing the DoT about this, not through the media but “on their own”.

Dec 12, 2010 18:29 IST , 

2.15 11-188819-0-12-20090529-125323: N.K. Singh
Soon after the new cabinet is formed, Radia and former bureaucrat N.K. Singh discuss its fallout with the latter sharing his insight into the ups and downs of those appointed. He terms the new cabinet as "Shivji ki baaraat" (a reference, as he explains, to the baaraat of Shivji -- the marriage party of Lord Shiva -- that consisted of many creatures from scorpions, serpents, elephants to "tame deers"). But in a clear reference to Kamal Nath's alleged financial wrongdoings in UPA I, Singh says Nath has been shown his place.

2.16 11-188819-0-28-20090529-125818: N. K. Singh
"Mukesh swung it for him"-- N K Singh to Radia on Murli Deora getting a successive second term as the petroleum minister with support from Mukesh Ambani. Did Mukesh Ambani earn Murli Deora his second term as the petroleum minister? And has civil aviation minister Praful Patel worked more as a minister for Naresh Goyal (owner of Jet Airways)? This is what N.K. Singh tells Radia in the second part of their conversation where they discuss the new cabinet. "Murli's incompetence is proverbial", Singh says. But in a more worrying insight, he says that Murli Deora is always "busy trying to appease" questioners in Parliament so that "he can stay out of (uncomfortable question)."

2.17 11-188819-0-26-20090529-110537: Ranjan Bhattacharya
This conversation is with Vajpayee's foster son in law Ranjan Bhattacharya. Radia tells him "I just saved them (Unitech) from Rs 60 crores of a bounced cheque with Tatas, another one 250 crore kaa outstanding hai all the cheques have bounced. I don't know how many times I have stopped them from going into liquidation," she says. When Bhattacharya mentions that the Unitech bosses probably think that the new commerce minister Anand Sharma is “proprietary”, Radia adds: "Haan, he [the Unitech boss] told me, he told me very clearly on the phone abhi tou Anandji aa gaye hain. Look at the great thing ..how much confidence Sonia Gandhi has in him..." Ranjan says he is meeting Sunil Mittal and wants to confabulate with Radia so that "we are on the same page". Radia also talks about how the CII is running around "headless" after Tarun Das' imminent exit.

2.18 11-188819-0-23-20090601-105442: Srini
"Nita bhaabhi wants a conference call," Srini tells Radia. The problem in hand: How an interview with Society (done by Shobhaa De) hasn't gone according to script. "Between me and you, we had got an edited version to be posted in Hello," he says. But an unedited version of the interview appeared on De's blog, which worries them all. Giving tips on how to manage the media, Radia says that "Mid-Day is totally under control through the relationship that we have through the Tatas." [On the same subject, please see, in the first lot of 140 tapes, # 35 and # 36 ]

2.19 11-188819-0-22-20090530-091732: Yatish
After getting frantic calls that money for the employees of NewsX hasn't reached yet, Radia and another person discuss with Yatish how NewsX needs to be restructured and managed. Consultants from Wide Angle (represented by one Rahul Kulsheshtra) have been hired, she says, to look at transition and rightsizing of operations. "Bahut saara tamaashaa huaa hai NewsX mein. Creditors need to be cleared" as vendors are turning up with cops at the office," she says. Ms Radia clearly indicates that she -- or whoever "we" is -- is completely in control of  NewsX.

Dec 12, 2010 20:57 IST 

2.20 11-188819-0-22-20090619-091822: Venkat 
Radia talks to Venkat, who is a part of Ratan Tata’s office, about getting a clearance from Tata on a meeting (possibly Sunil Mittal) at a neutral place – at the Chambers or Radia’s residence. Venkat also says he (Tata) doesn’t want her to come to his (Sunil Mittal’s) office as he is worried someone might take undue media advantage (seeing her at Mittal’s office). Radia says she can handle the media. She also asks Venkat if he has spoken to his boss (Ratan Tata) about Noel (Tata).

2.21 11-188819-0-23-20090612-143010: Raja
This brief conversation illustrates Radia’s sense, or even knowledge, that her phone is being tapped. This is a recurring theme in earlier conversations too. The Raja she is speaking to asks her to call from her a Tata phone. “This phone is OK, naa?” responds Radia. Raja replies: “This one is fine, it’s not in my name”.

2. 22 11-188819-0-07-20090619-140812: Unknown (Moroy?)
In this conversation on June 19 with an unknown person, Radia pushes the case for a bureaucrat – industries secretary, West Bengal government, an IAS officer of the 1977 batch – who is applying to the center, “a very good guy”. Radia says she has talked to the minister about it – “he says we can talk about it.” She then fixes up a meeting with the unknown person.

2.23 11-188819-0-08-20090627-141520: Unknown
Before the conversation begins, some colourful language is directed at one Sarogi. The caller asks if the letter has been sent forward. When Radia affirms that, he congratulates her, “well done…good work” and Radia agrees. The unknown caller then says he is talking to Vikram and he will call Ravi. Radia says, “I’m taking the letter when I meet  Mr (Ratan) Tata tonight". She then talks about fixing a time for July 10 onwards: “The meeting can be in London, New York, Bombay or South Africa,” says the unknown caller.

2.24 11-188819-0-08-20090620-140608: Vishal Mehta
Radia asks this employee to speak to Shankkar Aiyar of India Today because “Prabhu (Chawla) kaa call gayaa Ranjan (Bhattacharya) ko, ki Mukesh se baat karaa dey, Anil is way ahead, ask Mukesh to be careful and this and that”. “Before I speak to Prabhu, I need to know what his mind is,” says Radia.

2.25 11-188819-0-26-20090619-105618: Manoj Warrier
Manoj Warrier, Niira’s business associate, gives her the low-down on his chat with Reliance’s PMS Prasad. On the matter of raging rumours about a settlement between the Ambani brothers, Warrier reports what Prasad says happened in a conversation with Petroleum Minister Murli Deora — that the news about the Ambani brothers arriving at a settlement out-of-court was leaked by Deora (“too much pressure is being built”) in order to “deflect” the media’s attention from the real matter—the dividing up of resources including gas. Manoj Warier says: “I (PMS Prasad) was sitting with him (Deora) and he (Deora) said that you know there is too much pressure being built so let me deflect it, let me say, ‘settlement’.”

2.26 11-188819-0-27-20090615-150531: Manoj Warrier
Manoj Warrier and Niira Radia discuss what appears to be their investigation into what Anil’s Reliance ADAG plans to do with the natural gas acquired at the mutually-agreed rate from Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance. Anil plans to use the gas were at one point critical to the settlement. Radia and Warrier agree on whom to share a critical finding with—that the Anil side has decided to say that they have “all clearances including land acquisition and environmental clearance are available with us for the project (ostensibly, Dadri).” This clearance, Manoj and Niira seem to agree, is not available with the Anil Ambani side yet.

2.27 11-188819-0-23-20090621-110248: Harinder Singh
Radia discusses the purchase of some property with Harinder Singh, Founder-Chairman and the Managing Director of Realistic Realtors, for which she had a word with Sanjay Chandra (probably from real estate developers Unitech), “who will have a look at it himself”. “Principally, we will go along with it,” says Radia. The conversation gives an impression of manipulation of the property price to keep it around (Rs) 60 (crore?) by keeping the number of bidders minimum through support bids from Harinder’s companies and also talk about “adjustments” in the mode of payment.

2.28 11-188819-0-14-20090619-190621: Jehangir Pocha
Jehangir Pocha to Niira Radia: “It’s Anil’s son,” Jehangir Pocha tells Niira Radia, referring to an accident in Mumbai involving Anil Ambani’s car. “Very good,” replies Radia. “What very good, babu?,” Pocha chides her. Radia replies: “They’re only after us.” (The rumour at that time was that Mukesh Ambani’s son was involved in an accident). Pocha goes on to say, “Don’t say that, someone has got hurt, the boy has been in an accident.” Pocha then goes on to describe the accident -- the driver finally surrendered -- saying that the police had said it all looked “suspicious”. Radia says she'd "let them [Mukesh Ambani's people] know"

Dec 17, 2010 21:50 IST

2.29 11-188819-0-29-20090630-222159: R. K. Chandolia
In this conversation, Radia is discussing the Justice Reghupathy case (where the Madras High Court judge alleged that a Union minister had tried to influence him, and Dayanidhi Maran immediately pointed fingers at A. Raja). ‘Raja Had Nothing To Do With The Madras HC Case’. Also See: Conversation # 117 with Ratan Tata from the 140 lot

2.30: 11-188819-0-23-20090529-200611: Manoj Modi
In a conversation with Reliance’s Manoj Modi, Niira discusses a bunch of NGOs being considered to file litigation and PILs. ‘Look Into It, This Will Be A Very High-Profile, High-Tensile Case’ 

2.31 11-188819-0-27-20090616-203304: Unknown
Reacting to reports that client Unitech’s partner Telenor is facing regulatory clearance issues, Niira makes a case for withholding the FIBP clearance of Swan Telecom, where Anil Ambani had a stake. ‘Main Abhi Baat Kar Deta Hoon, Telenor Ke Upar Kya Issue Hai’

2.32 11-188819-0-26-20090626-142650: R. K. Chandolia
Here Radia talks to Chandolia on the ways the Tatas can fund a hospital in Perambalur, A. Raja’s hometown. Later, the Tata Foundation allotted Rs 9 crore to upgrade hospitals in the district. ‘Toh Aap Ek Kaam Karo Na, You Just Talk...Call Him, Minister...’

2.33 11-188819-0-21-20090602-094712: R. K. Chandolia
Radia chats with Chandolia just after coming out of a meeting with A. Raja, who wants a person to handle his media. Radia offers Chandolia one of her “trusted guys”. ‘Sahab (Raja) Ne Bola Ki You Meet People During One Specified Time’

2.34 11-188819-0-26-20090531-170208: Ranjan Bhattacharya
Atal Behari Vajpayee’s foster son-in-law recounts to Radia a recent conversation he had with Mukesh Ambani on Bharti’s Sunil Mittal seeking Niira Radia’s services on a “loose arrangement”. ‘I Told Mukesh...Sunil (Mittal) Wants Niira To Work For Him’

2.35 11-188819-0-22-20090620-204334: Cecilia
Radia talks to her secretary Cecilia to fish out a “dossier” on Praful Patel and Air India, which she can pass on to Star News. ‘Woh Waapas Bhijwaya Tha (Document On Praful Patel)’

2.36 11-188819-0-09-20090529-202106: Jehangir Pocha
This conversation between the operations head of news channel NewsX and Niira Radia shows how she virtually controls and funds the channel. ‘Listen, We Have A Problem Here. Our Salaries Are Due But Money Hasn’t Come’

COMMENTS PRINT
2G SPECTRUM ALLOCATION SCAM
Outlook magazine has unearthed 800 new tapped conversations involving the lobbyist Niira Radia in the 2G spectrum scam.
Saikat Datta, Ajith Pillai, Debarshi Dasgupta, Sunit Arora, Sundeep Dougal
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