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The Vir Sanghvi- Niira Radia Tapes

In these Radia wants Sanghvi to tell the Congress not to negotiate with Dayanidhi Maran. He tells her that while he has been meeting Rahul and can't "get into Sonia in the short term" he would "try and get through to Ahmed"

Please allow a few seconds to elapse before the recordings begin.


  • Vir Sanghvi--42-188819-0-24-20090522-130319
  • Vir Sanghvi-05-188819-0-02-20090522-132707
  • Vir Sanghvi--10-188819-0-06-20090522-221623
  • Vir Snaghvi--36-188819-0-22-20090522-225011
  • Vir Sanghvi--15-188819-0-10-20090523-222642
  • Vir Sanghvi--43-188819-0-24-20090524-122706

In some of these transcripts, Niira is spelt as Nira and in some, indeed, as 'Mira'


May 22, 2009, 13:03:19

Vir Sanghvi: Hi Mira.

Mira: Hi Vir. Where are you Delhi or… 

Vir Sanghvi: I’m in Jaipur. Coming back this evening. 

Mira: Okay. I just wanted to, I’ve been talking to my Tamil Nadu friends.

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: I just need to, I don’t know whether you are in the position to get through to anyone at Congress. I just met Kanni just now.

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: And I’ve been, you know, we reunited since yesterday. The problem is…

Vir Sanghvi: I was suppose to meet Sonia today but I’ve been stuck here. So, now it’s becoming tomorrow. I’ve been meeting with Rahul but tell me?

Mira: No, I’ll tell you what – they are not understanding that they are actually communicating with the wrong guy. Not because I detached Maran but actually the father has not nominated Maran to negotiate. Now, you know, it’s like a banana republic where the cabinet…

Vir Sanghvi: Then why Maran became the face, they all hate Maran.

Mira: No. He is not, he is not. I know, no. But the Congress is under the impression. They have already apparently indicated to Maran that the Prime Minister will not give infrastructure berth to DMK, which, but he himself is desperately pushing for an infrastructure berth for himself.

Vir Sanghvi: Right.

Mira: But the problem is that there is a leader which is Kanni’s brother which is Alagiri, who’s won that election and he is a mass leader.

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: Now what has apparently Maran has gone and indicated to Congress is that he will accept a MOS independent and you leave it with me, everything will be okay. 

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: Which blames Balu, Raja and Maran Cabinet posts independent to Alagiri and MOS to Kanni. 

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: Now, Alagiri is a very, you know, he is, he is a mass leader. He controls half of Tamil Nadu for Karunanidhi’s point of view.

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: He is far too, too senior for Maran. So, what he has told his father that if you make Maran a cabinet minister…

Vir Sanghvi: Yeah.

Mira: …I’ll not come into the cabinet. And the father cannot afford to upset him because… 

Vir Sanghvi: Obviously.

Mira: …simply because of his position. 

Vir Sanghvi: Yeah.

Mira: Right now the Congress doesn’t seem to be understanding this. 

Vir Sanghvi: So, who should they talk to?

Mira: They need to, look, they need to talk directly to Karunanidhi, they need to talk to Kanni. 

Vir Sanghvi: Sonia spoke to him yesterday, you know.

Mira: No, she didn’t speak to him. Only Prime Minister spoke even that was Kanni was translating for him. It was very brief that, you know, let’s try and resolve this issue. There is nothing at all and whatever. They need to get Ghulam Nabi Azad to speak to Kanimozhi. 

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: Seriously, that’s the only thing that will work and Kanni will take them to her father.

Vir Sanghvi: I won’t get into Sonia in the short term, let me try and get through to Ahmed.

Mira: No. But they need to speak to Kanni and Kanni will take him to their, her father directly.

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: He has no problem with three cabinet berths at all. In fact it is the Congress that messed it up.

Vir Sanghvi: Mm-hmm. 

Mira: Had they, had they not kept on insisting and kept on pushing Maran forward themselves have been pushing Maran forward. They would have left it to Raja and, and Balu even if they wanted or Raja and Alagiri and Kanni would taken independent, nobody will, it is Congress they started this whole Maran dialogue. 

Vir Sanghvi: Oh, I have been thinking that DMK nominated Maran. 

Mira: No. No. No. No, they did, they’ve sent a list earlier with five portfolios and Maran’s name because father was pushed … so he had to send a list with everybody’s name on it. But he was hoping that Congress would come back and say okay we will accept Raja or we will not, or not Raja, we will give you only three portfolios right? But they have not able to, the communication that’s been happening in Congress with DMK has been complete warped. They are talking to the wrong guys. 

Vir Sanghvi: Okay. Let me try and get through to Ahmed. 

Mira: The, the simplest way is Kanni [Indiscernible] [0:03:24]. 

Vir Sanghvi: Yeah.

Mira: And Kanni [Indiscernible] [0:03:27] will take them to her father directly.

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: And they can have this, you know, whatever are the, the concerns, whatever they want to say, let them say in front of Kanni. 

Vir Sanghvi: And he’ll never mind. He will not mind.

Mira: Yeah, they should say, they should say we don’t want Maran. 

Vir Sanghvi: Okay. Done. Let me just try and get through and I’ll let you know soon. 

Mira: But the moment you drop Maran, your problem gets resolved because Alagiri has done okay. 

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: Yeah.

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: Okay. Give him this message. She is right now…

Vir Sanghvi: I just…

Mira: [Indiscernible] [0:03:51] She is in her South Avenue residence.

Vir Sanghvi: They have a mobile no, you know?

Mira: I just met her.

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: And some Tamil Nadu Congress guys also want just now to meet her. 

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: I don’t think it needs to be done at that level. It needs to be done at, at Ghulam Nabi Azad level or…

Vir Sanghvi: Well, I’ll talk with Ahmed. I’m going to talk to him.

Mira: Yeah.

Vir Sanghvi: Yeah. 


May 22, 2009, 13:27:07

Vir Sanghvi: Hi Nira.

Nira: Vir, just one thing, you know, explain to him…

Vir Sanghvi: Yeah.

Nira: …that when they send their list of five cabinet ministers, they had sent Maran for Railways…

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Nira: They had send Surface Transportation for Balu…

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Nira: …Telecom for Raja.

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Nira: …Health for Kanni…

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Nira: …Power for Balu, Power for Balu.

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Nira: And Surface for Alagiri…

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Nira: …knowing because, because Karunanidhi was under pressure from his family…

Vir Sanghvi: Yeah.

Nira: …knowing Power and Railways would never be accepted.

Vir Sanghvi: That’s right.

Nira: Both people would have been dropped.

Vir Sanghvi: Oh, I see.

Nira: And he says, you know, this whole, because he doesn’t know how to explain the man, you know, old…

Vir Sanghvi: Yeah.

Nira: …but actually and then they could have got away with two with Alagiri and Raja and Kanni would have happily accepted MoS as independent.

Vir Sanghvi: That’s right. Yeah, yeah. So, basically its Maran know?

Nira: Yeah. So, the moment you drop him you solved your problem.

Vir Sanghvi: Who was he dealing with?

Nira: They are dealing with Maran, Congress is talking to Maran.

Vir Sanghvi: No. But who in the Congress?

Nira: I believe various people, I know he is in touch with Ahmed Patel, he is in touch with Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Nira: But Ghulam Nabi Azad doesn’t like him.

Vir Sanghvi: No. Even Ahmed doesn’t like him. Nobody likes him.

Nira: So – yeah, but I think we just need to – seriously there is only one route, talk to the daughter she will take you to him…


May 22, 2009, 22:16:23

Nira: Hi.

Vir Sanghvi: Hi, can you talk?

Nira: Hi.

Vir Sanghvi: Can you talk?

Nira: Yeah, yeah. Okay.

Vir Sanghvi: You know, Maran did not meet Sonia.

Nira: He did not, they are not telling everybody.

Vir Sanghvi: He will not meet Sonia, he is been there, they say we’re not treating him as official spokesperson at all. He called just now, I saw your message, he is nonstop calling up Ghulam Nabi Azad every half an hour and making new demands and all that.

Nira: Mm-hmm. 

Vir Sanghvi: As far as we’re concerned there is two wives, one brother, one sister, one nephew it’s all got very complicated for us. We’ve made a basic offer, if Karunanidhi responds to us and tell this that he would like to respond directly, he would like to talk to Ms. Gandhi. He spoke only to Manmohan Singh. We would be more than happy but we’re not going to chase them now. We’ve told Maran that also they’ve to come back to us and tell us what they think of our offer. And apparently the DMK is getting very bad press in Chennai.

Nira: Mm-hmm. 

Vir Sanghvi: So, he said we’re going to wait for two days. Let them come back, we are of the line that this is not a Congress DMK problem, this is an internal DMK problem because they can’t get their act together between all his wives and children and nephews and all of that. He is got to get his act together and nominate one person and we would be very happy to deal with him. We are not happy with this Maran who keeps calling up Ghulam Nabi and saying talk to me, talk to me. They are not taking him seriously.

Nira: Very interesting. I’m glad of – you spoke to Ghulam Nabi, is it?

Vir Sanghvi: I spoke to Ahmed.

Nira: Ahmed [Indiscernible] [0:01:35].

Vir Sanghvi: Ghulam Nabi is not very key figure, Ahmed is the key figure.

Nira: Right, right, right.

Vir Sanghvi: Yeah. So, Ahmed he says Ghulam has been dealing with Maran. But Ghulam is not our official person and we’re not taking Maran seriously. As far as they are concerned they’ve asked for five crucial ministry, they’ve asked for five crucial ministry, it’s an idiotic and unreasonable demand. We’ve made them a perfectly reasonable demand. Now, it is for Karunanidhi to get back to us, Kanni come and see us, anyone can come and see us and say I’ll put you on the line with my father et cetera, lines are, doors are open to her. But we can’t have a situation where Maran keeps calling us and saying I’m the person and telling Ghulam, I want this, I want that, who is Maran?

Nira: Mm-hmm. 

Vir Sanghvi: Maran has gone back apparently today to Chennai?

Nira: Yeah. He has gone back, yeah. I’ll tell him to call back.

Vir Sanghvi: He says, we told him – we told Maran also that we’ll deal with Karunanidhi, so he has gone back. So, they are quite hopeful they say, we made a very reasonable offer, we’ve lot of regards for Karunanidhi, we would like to deal with him. We have no regard for Maran.

Nira: Okay. That’s interesting.

Vir Sanghvi: Yeah.

Nira: I better tell them this.

Vir Sanghvi: Yeah. Then he further, I mean, just let me know and I’ll take it further.

Nira: Okay, great. And…

Vir Sanghvi: Yeah. And 1:30 tomorrow, you know…

Nira: …we meet 1:30, 1:30 yeah, yeah.

Vir Sanghvi: Yeah. Yeah. See you then, bye, bye. 


May 23, 2009, 22:26:42

Vir Sanghvi: Hello.

Mira: Sorry to disturb you. 

Vir Sanghvi: Hi, no problem. 

Mira: They had a meeting. 

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: M.K. Narayanan had come.

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: And as suggested it was Kanni only. 

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: And they had a, they are still stuck to their four formula and one independent. 

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: But these people will also think about it and let him know tomorrow morning. He is…

Vir Sanghvi: But they will not send him about the family or whatever, right? 

Mira: No. He clarified everything that you had told him.

Vir Sanghvi: Okay, very good. 

Mira: I think that there was no issue and there was, and there was lot of relief from this Chief Minister’s side. 

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: And he realized that, you know, this is all being done by…

Vir Sanghvi: By Maran.

Mira: …yeah. [Indiscernible] [0:00:42] But the thing is that it appears that he is still under a lot of pressure to take Maran, you know, so…

Vir Sanghvi: Where is this coming from this pressure?

Mira: It’s coming from Stalin and his sister Sylvie.

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: So, I believe Maran has given about 600 crores to Dayalu, Stalin’s mother.

Vir Sanghvi: 600 Crores, okay?

Mira: 600 Crores, is what I’m told.

Vir Sanghvi: It’s hard to argue with that kind of pressure?

Mira: Isn’t it. So, he is…

Vir Sanghvi: Yeah.

Mira: …but no, but he doesn’t know, the father doesn’t, I mean,

Vir Sanghvi: Doesn’t realize what?

Mira: Doesn’t realize that. But this is the feedback that Alagiri has got. 

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: And …

Vir Sanghvi: So, basically what they want is a little more flexibility and posts right? They want probably more cabinets or something? 

Mira: They are saying one more cabinet and Kanni was independent charge.

Vir Sanghvi: Yeah.

Mira: But if they stick to three and give independent charge, then Kanni gets her independent and then Alagiri, Balu and Raja come in?

Vir Sanghvi: That is not so bad, you know.

Mira: Yeah, so I think…

Vir Sanghvi: …unless Maran is one of the cabinet.

Mira: Yeah. But yeah, unless Maran is one of the cabinet. But I don’t think he can give it to three family members.

Vir Sanghvi: Yeah.

Mira: That will send a very wrong signals.

Vir Sanghvi: That’s right.

Mira: So, the best thing is, you know, if I don’t know whether Narayanan can say that, I mean he can’t say who should be the people. But he could probably go back and say that, you know, Balu and Raja and Alagiri is the best option and Kanni, you know. 

Vir Sanghvi: And it’s good for the government also, that doesn’t seem to be giving it to the family.

Mira: Yeah. Yeah but then I don’t know whether he is in the position to take names, you know.

Vir Sanghvi: Because Balu and Raja are saying it is being spread by Maran saying that we don’t, nobody wants them because they are crooks to advance his own career, you know.

Mira: Yeah. Yeah. So, if there was anything that could be said which is, that, that you know, you know, if, if Narayanan was to come back tomorrow and say by looking, I think, we think that may be the three and we’ll see a little later for the fourth one. But for now let’s just look at Alagiri, Balu and Raja…

Vir Sanghvi: And, and, and see Maran…

Mira: …and we can give independent to Kanni. 

Vir Sanghvi: Yeah. Makes sense

Mira: And, and that would be a, a good thing for him to say. And they are asking for environment and forest.

Vir Sanghvi: See Narayanan will talk to PM. Then they have to communicate, he won’t talk to the Congress President 

Mira: hmm?

Vir Sanghvi: He won’t talk to Congress president. So, somebody … he’s PM’s man, he has gone on behalf of PM. So, they will, PMO will send its feedback to Congress party. So, that stage my friends will get a …. 

Mira: So they will in any case speak to Ahmed, you know. 

Vir Sanghvi: Yeah. Yeah, they will. And nothing will happen without his getting involved.

Mira: Yeah.

Vir Sanghvi: So, I’ll speak to him right away and convey this?

Mira: Yeah. But maybe that, you know, he would have to specify then that we are not too comfortable with Maran…

Vir Sanghvi: Yeah.

Mira: …and let it be Balu and Raja because so much has been said and then it would also, also send a wrong message that if you don’t take Balu and Raja now. But I don’t know whether they will say that?

Vir Sanghvi: I don’t know. Well let’s, let’s. No, harm trying. 

Mira: But therefore Kanni, is asking for, he is not told Narayanan this but they’ve suggested a couple of ministries.

Vir Sanghvi: Which one?

Mira: But they are saying okay, telecom is going to Raja in any case.

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: That, the old man is very clear about.

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: But as far as the other two are concerned, he doesn’t mind. He is not very fussed about chemical, fertilizer and labor. 

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: How funny, he would prefer that she gets independent charge Environment and Forest or something like that. You know, where she can get her teeth in and she is I think, she is very upright with it. So, they shouldn’t have any problem with that or by the way aviation also. 

Vir Sanghvi: What about Civil Aviation?

Mira: And Civil Aviation. 

Vir Sanghvi: It gives her the, it gives her the profile she would need, you know.

Mira: She wants the aviation because, why she says aviation because she can do Chennai airport, Salem and Madurai and all that, you know… 

Vir Sanghvi: Yeah.

Mira: …it gives her the, the foothold for the political side.

Vir Sanghvi: We don’t have anyone there. Let me talk. 

Mira: Yeah. And she is intelligent and she will do just, because they are saying Environment and Forest and Aviation for Kanni in independent charge. 

Vir Sanghvi: I’ll pass this on?

Mira: Yeah. Thanks. Thanks to you.

Vir Sanghvi: Yeah. 

Mira: That was really great, you know, you all, I mean it was exactly as you had said and…

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Mira: They were very relieved and she was so relieved. So, wants to say thank you to you personally. 

Vir Sanghvi: I’ll pass it…

Mira: Let’s hope tomorrow it will – and Alagiri has got all those messages. My person came back and confirmed.

Vir Sanghvi: Oh, very good. 


May 24, 2009, 12:27:06

Nira: Vir.

Vir Sanghvi: Yeah hi. Tell me.

Nira: Hi, hi. Currently they had given a list just for four people to Narayanan

Vir Sanghvi: Okay. Okay.

Nira: Then today when Narayanan went back there, they gave three – they got, I mean, Kanni got her father to agree to three…

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Nira: …thinking that they will have this independent charge issue. But Congress came back and said we’ll not do independent charge.

Vir Sanghvi: Independent charge for anyone or independent charge for anyone or for Kanni

Nira: For Kanni because three for the cabinet which was any case what was the original formula…

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Nira: …and the only the extra that they asked like we don’t want a fourth cabinet post but you give us an independent charge post…

Vir Sanghvi: Okay.

Nira: …and then the independent charge.

Vir Sanghvi: Right.

Nira: And that Congress seems to has, not agreed to.

Vir Sanghvi: Okay. Let me find out.

Nira: Yeah. [Indiscernible] [0:00:52] Narayanan has left with the list that…

Vir Sanghvi: But, I mean, Narayanan is just a messenger. So, now the decision will be taken.

Nira: If they can… 


  • Vir Sanghvi--42-188819-0-24-20090522-130319
  • Vir Sanghvi-05-188819-0-02-20090522-132707
  • Vir Sanghvi--10-188819-0-06-20090522-221623
  • Vir Snaghvi--36-188819-0-22-20090522-225011
  • Vir Sanghvi--15-188819-0-10-20090523-222642
  • Vir Sanghvi--43-188819-0-24-20090524-122706


Also See: Vir Sanghvi's response on his blog

  • Web Editor's note: In his response Mr Sanghvi only refers to his August 15 piece but there was one on June 20 which is relevant and is discussed here by Ms Radia and her colleague Manoj
The Kanimozhi-Radia Tapes The Ratan Tata, Barkha Dutt & Other Tapes
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