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Radia with Vir Sanghvi

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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.”


Post Script: Outlook print


In the midst of the battle between the Ambani brothers over gas resources, Radia gets senior journalist Vir Sanghvi to favour her client Mukesh’s interests through his column. In this conversation, Vir gives her a preview of what is going to appear in his now-discontinued column Counterpoint. “Dressed it up like a plea to Manmohan Singh, so that it won’t look like an inter-Ambani battle,” he says. “Very nice,” replies an approving Radia.

Niira Radia: Hi

Vir Sanghvi: Hi. Niira?

NR: Yeah, yeah.

VS: Okay, wrote it. I’ve dressed it up as a piece about how public will not stand for our resources being cornered; how we’re creating a new list of oligarchs, the example I’ve given is the court case which says that mummy will decide...that it’s all a family, that why should our gas be decided by Mummy? I’ve given the example of the deal they struck on Sasan (in Madhya Pradesh where Anil Ambani has a power plant) after the Samajwadi Party supported the government and they went back on the deal and they went back to their old position. I’ve given this example of how spectrum is being allocated and I’ve said that while people have a certain tolerance for corruption in this country, they’ve no tolerance for people cornering our assets and cornering our scarce resources. What’s going to happen in this country is we’re going to become a country run by oligarchs like Russia who nobody can control and that Manmohan Singh must act because he’s basically giving away the future of our children.

NR: Very nice.

VS: Yeah?

NR: Lovely. Thank you, Vir.

VS: It’s... It’s dressed up like a plea to Manmohan Singh, so it won’t look like an inter-Ambani battle, except to people in the know.

NR: Very nice.

VS: Yeah, so you read it. Tell me what you think.

NR: Thanks. You’re leaving tonight, yeah?

VS: Yeah, am leaving tonight. I’ll be in Colombo tomorrow.

NR: Great.


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