Radia is speaking to Vajpayee’s foster son-in-law Ranjan Bhattacharya. They discuss the problem the former is having with Unitech which is not clearing the dues to the Tatas. Radia says that the Unitech people believe they own commerce minister Anand Sharma. Also discussed is Airtel’s Sunil Mittal’s need for a liaison person. Bhattacharya says he has been inquiring about Radia.
Ranjan Bhattacharya: Hello.
Niira Radia: Sorry, I had to come out and talk.
RB: You know I am usually not used to being stood up.
NR: Arre kya hua... I really didn’t even know. I can come after this meeting. What time does your lunch finish?
RB: I am joking. I am joking. Achchha aap yeh batao, who are you (meeting) what did you say at 4.30? Gurgaon mein kaun hai?
RB: Haan. Ohh! No, no, don’t cancel it.
NR: They will never otherwise ever give me time, you know, they’ve been avoiding me. I need to go and see them.
RB: Now they have sold two hotels, boss, they have got some money.
NR: They keep on playing up and of course it’s sad but they talk about everything else under the sun other than what is outstanding. It’s crazy. I mean I’ve just saved them from 60 crore of a bounced cheque with Tatas, another one, right?
RB: Another one?
NR: Haan. Because all their cheques have bounced. Abhi 250 crores ka outstanding hai.
RB: My god!
NR: Aur...all their cheques have bounced. This last one has also bounced. He told me this will go through when I was there. I mean I don’t know how many times I’ve stopped them from going into liquidation.
RB: You see...haan. You are right. And they think Anand Sharma is proprietary.
RB: You are right.
NR: He told me very clearly on the phone. Abhi to Anand ji aa gaye hain. Look at the great thing, how much confidence Sonia Gandhi has in him. Toh maine kaha abhi kya aapko funding milegi kya bank se?
RB: Haan. I was just going to say that.
NR: Maine kaha—I am very happy because now you can settle all the bills (both laugh).
RB: No. No. Be tough on them. Achchha abhi aisa hai, there is no rush. But Monday I am whole day in a board meeting...then it goes on to Tuesday. Now the other thing is Sunil...Mittal. Yesterday I was at that idiot’s place na, what’s his name...I think I am getting amnesia...Suhel Seth’s place and Sunil met me briefly and he said I mean in his Punjabi style yaar tu sab nu jaanda hai, so maine kaha yaar Sunil what do you want? Toh kainda hai ki yaar... He mentioned you. He said my problem is I need somebody (for liaison). I can’t handle it. I told you. Now he wants to meet me sometimes during this weekend. That’s why I was keen to meet you so that we are on the same page.
NR: Listen what I can do is.... The reason I had to come here is because Tarun Das is stepping down on Sunday (from CII). And to them it’s a big thing. It’s like almost like the father is leaving them or, I am sorry, left home so the poor children have no father. You should see they are running around like headless...listen, this organisation has been built over 40 years. I can’t believe it.
RB: They are feeling orphaned.
NR: Yeah, they are completely orphaned. I am so shocked. I can leave here in another hour, max.