Wednesday 26 October 2016

The Quarry Is Watching

Radia could even have known she was being probed

It’s now beyond doubt that only selected conversations from the Niira Radia tapes were leaked to the media. An Outlook investigation reveals there were many other key figures speaking to Radia. Here are some of the “missing” conversations:

  • A Congress Lok Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh has several conversations with Radia about the then ongoing income-tax investigations. She is heard telling Radia that she has discussed the issue with a senior income-tax official who has assured her that the investigations would not harm Radia, though they might possibly harm some of her clients.
  • In one conversation, Radia is believed to be speaking to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. She is discussing the transfer of Tata’s Nano project from West Bengal to Gujarat, where the plant was ultimately set up.
  • Radia is believed to be speaking to West Bengal CPI(M) state secretary Biman Bose about Singur, where Tata’s Nano project ran into opposition.

Investigators say they believe the woman MP Radia is speaking to is in all likelihood Annu Tandon, the Congress MP from Unnao, Uttar Pradesh. When contacted, Annu said she could not recall the conversation with Radia. Her husband Sandeep (who died this year) was a former revenue service officer who later became a “consultant” to Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. Both her sons work for the same company.

She admitted to knowing several I-T officials including Milap Jain, the then DG income-tax (investigations) who headed the Radia probe and hence knew all the details of the conservations that Radia had till December 2008 and post May 2009.

“I know Milap through Sandeep (her husband) and Milap’s wife Bimlesh is my friend. But I’ve never met him for work issues,” she said. Annu admitted that she’d met Radia on several “social” occasions but could not remember any phone call.

But three sources, all connected to the ongoing investigation and with access to the tapped conversations, confirmed to Outlook that the voice discussing I-T official Jain with Radia was indeed Annu’s.

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