Niira Radia: Hi
R. Sridharan, ET Now: Hi, How are you?
Niira Radia: [laughs] I am alright, how are you?
R. Sridharan: [laughs] Good, good.
Niira Radia: Look, I am trying to get you Kishore Chaukar [Managing Director, Tata Industries and Chairman, TCCI] and Gopal [Perhaps R Gopalakrishnan, executive director of Tata Sons]
R. Sridharan: But Gopal, I don't think, he is there in the country around that time?
Niira Radia: Sixth, I think, he is there
R. Sridharan: He is there?
Niira Radia: Yeah, He is, I was told he might be there... may be, he is going, yeah, he is going on 2nd.
R. Sridharan: Hmmm, but what about Ravikant and Krishna Kumar?
Niira Radia: Ravi refused, and Krishna Kumar won’t do it. KK never does it.
R. Sridharan: Why?
Niira Radia: Eight years, they wont do it. Don’t... I can ask but he won’t do ... there is outright rejection on these issues. They don’t come for any budget. Have you ever seen? [Unclear]
R. Sridharan: No, that's why we thought...
Niira Radia: He never does it, he doesn’t do it. So I don’t want to approach him. [Manoj] Sonawala, Arun [Kumar] Gandhi, they don’t do it.
R. Sridharan: Hmm
Niira Radia: Ishant [?], Chaukar... the MDs, Muthuraman, the CFOs, people in [pause] probably , I will see whether a Tata Motors CFO will come or a Tata Steels CFO will come. I am checking, who is available where
R. Sridharan: Ok, but Muthuraman can come?
Niira Radia: Muthu is out of the country.
R. Sridharan: Ok, and Ravikant, he is also out of country?
Niira Radia: He is outright turned it down.
R. Sridharan: Ohhh
Niira Radia: I sent him a mail last night. He is comeback, he is in London today, but he sent me a mail last night only, saying please keep me out of all these.
R. Sridharan: [laughs] Ok
Niira Radia: Yeah [unclear word] I expected him to reject, because Modi also approached me for a pre-budget briefing on 22nd. At that time also he had said no. Lot of Tata guys don't really want to do it, you know. But they I think Kishore and some 3-4 of them, I will try and get [pause] ... out of them, we will see because I got CNBC on my case. [pause] so get that.
R. Sridharan: Yeah , I can imagine that, everyone must be, you know, chasing you for all these guys.
Niira Radia: Yeah, so they don't generally go for budget briefings, I must tell you that. But
R. Sridharan: And RIL has the same story naa , no one from RIL has [unclear] budget...
Niira Radia: [unclear words] They don't get it.
R. Sridharan: I know, what these two group, they are [unclear] of budget... hmmm ok so
Niira Radia: I will try even despite that... I am trying to see whether I will get you [one unclear name] on air. He is not agreeing right now, but let see, but I will get you couple of data guys. I can’t promise all of them because it's just not possible. I may have to give a couple to CNBC also
R. Sridharan: Like who, but you are giving us the more important one right?
Niira Radia: Hmm hmm hmm [unclear word] They say the same thing to me naa ... I can't . I will give you both [ unclear word]
R. Sridharan: Hmmm ?
Niira Radia: So I will give you one ECE each and one CFO each.
R. Sridharan: The biggest has to come [unclear word], obviously otherwise what's the point, having known you for so many years, and all that
Niira Radia: CNBC can say same thing to me na?
R. Sridharan: Ya but
Niira Radia: No, Sridhar, I don't think [laughs]... How is my friend? You went for a briefing with [Unclear... but sounded like Chausani]?
R. Sridharan: Haaaa, no but I think, some of my people may have
Niira Radia: Ha
R. Sridharan: They are now .... [unclear words] for them is that, how they need to lay a pipeline, and all that
Niira Radia: How they need to lay a pipeline?
R. Sridharan: They don’t need to lay a pipeline to Dadri because they can use you know the HBJ [?] pipeline and all that.
Niira Radia: Laughs
R. Sridharan: Hmm so what to...?
Niira Radia: You know , we will go to Supreme Court and look, my argument is very simple and I was telling Rahul this morning, because he called me to say look we will be very fair on the coverage and all that. I said yaaa, you carried news, that's fine with me, and I am pleased with TK Arun's position.
R. Sridharan: Hmm
Niira Radia: You see, I am very clear because in the case of Tata Power, on Sassan, we fought coal.
R. Sridharan: Hmm, yaa ya I know that
Niira Radia: In the case of Spectrum, natural resource, Mr Raja, good old Mr Raja issued Spectrum on retrospective basis. Sunil Mittal's in Supreme Court. TDSAT, you saw the judgement, they fixed it, right?. Gas, natural resource, no? No pricing has been determined, yet subjected to government approval, right? I don’t know where the court has gone into deciding that government doesn't need to approve pricing. Iron ore: Tata Steel fighting in Jharkhand, where Anil Ambani trying to take iron ore mines..
R. Sridharan: For what?
Niira Radia: When he doesn't even have a steel plant.
R. Sridharan: Haa
Niira Radia: We have a guy, who is taking natural resources for personal profit. There has to be some sort of policy in this country, which, says Mr Rajas or Mr Shindes, or you know coal ministers will not be allowed to allocate — or Murali Deora for that matter. These will all go to through a process and they will be done at highest level, because they are national resources. You cant have a high court giving judgement based on the two brothers fighting naa. And then saying go back to Kokilaben ... I mean, it makes a mockery of the whole thing.
R. Sridharan: True
Niira Radia: I can see this because I am fighting both my clients. I can see what my Tata Power is going through, I can see what my Tata Steel is going through.
R. Sridharan: Hmm
Niira Radia: You are leaving decision at state level, [pause] You are leaving at central level, at at a politician's, who say, I have a party to support, and I have elections to fight in 2011.
Niira Radia: Hmm, but how strong is your case in Supreme Court? Because...
Niira Radia: It's very well...
R. Sridharan: It should go back to the family agreement, right?
Niira Radia: Na naaa naa, I don’t think so, I think he has interpreted it very well.. It's all there in the judgement if you read it if you read all the 364 pages of it, there is lot there...
R. Sridharan: I started reading it, yaaa...
Niira Radia: There is a lot there.. I don’t think any judge can just go on blindly, I feel. I can give you the font, comma, full stop. You read the TDSAT judgment. And you read the arguments on Supreme Court in TDSAT. This will give tremendous fodder to Sunil Mittal in Supreme Court. Because I know Tata Power, they want the Supreme Court on the, on the Sassan issue. I've seen that judgement [pause]. and I can tell you one thing, this is something very seriously wrong, I am not saying this because because of Reliance... and I am being emotional, may be I am bit emotional. but I just say one fundamental thing, that you know, if someone , who is watching this happen at very close [unclear word]. I seen Mr Raja telling me, I mean even though he's a friend of mine, "Kii Niira, don’t you know Spectrum... thiik hai Niira, you know, I have a party to support. [pause] Then I've seen Dr Sarma , who has been, one of the most upright telecom officer, who’s turned down completely on his own, on his own policies.
R. Sridharan: Raja , hmm..[unclear word] natural resource.
R. Sridharan: Raja is a bastard, no doubt about it.
Niira Radia: No, but Raja, Spectrum, I gave to him, middle of the night, LOI got issued, these are the natural resource...
R. Sridharan: Hmmm
Niira Radia: Even coal are natural resource , you get EGOM issues to change the rules of the game. After the bid process is over.
R. Sridharan: True
Niira Radia: Iron ore, I am fighting for mines in Jharakhand, I know about politicians are asking 150 crores. Where we refused to give, we were in court because of that. and this guy goes and gets iron ore mines allocated.
R. Sridharan: But what, why has it, why has he been given iron ore mines? What is he going to do with it?
Niira Radia: Because, he wants to start, he's signed a MOU with state government. He's saying I am going to start a steel plant.
R. Sridharan: Ahead of all that, they've given him the land.
Niira Radia: You get gas…They start, you start a process.. You know how those things [unclear word] respected [unclear word]. You have not even got land acquisition. In case of power, he is talking about Dadri having land. Tell him to show you where he's got land. He doesn’t have land. Shahpur -- I appreciate, because even Tata Power is getting land in Shahpur. But you are telling me you don't [unclear word]. Then you have government that allots three [unclear word] to the same party.
R. Sridharan: Hmm, that's true, Which even Shinde says as the mistake now.
Niira Radia: Yeah, no rules, what you know, you are banana republic or what?
R. Sridharan: True
Niira Radia: See, it can't, it can't work.
R. Sridharan: Nothing will come out of these three projects any way.
Niira Radia: Nahi, you know that. I know that. Right? We seen them with close quarters , we all know that right? But tell me one thing , you make a mockery of system all along. I am talking the other day with Sunil Mittal ... [unclear] has gone to court. Now Tatas are probably going to move against Raja on Spectrum.
R. Sridharan: Hmm
Niira Radia: That was, was issued, whole thing was issued, middle of night on 18th, and I have said this to Raja. You've given Anil Ambani, a dual technology licence retrospective. You cannot get away with that. Tatas were the first in the queue. He would have to re-apply. Even if the application is there from 2007 also. That whole judgement has been completely, you know, by TDSAT. I know how Dr Sarna has done that judgement. I just told Raja... He said, Niira, nahii kar, don’t do this, I will give you spectrum. I know Vanavati has called Anil ... Ambani, er, Anil Sardana and told him, don't oppose this in court, we will make sure that you get the Spectrum.
R. Sridharan: Hmm
Niira Radia: So, the point I am making is, whatever happens to the brothers cannot be the bases on which a national resources can be decided.
R. Sridharan: True
Niira Radia: Whether it is a Mukesh or whether it is Anil. That has to be set, there has to be pricing policy , that has to set by the government. high court is not qualified enough to do this.
R. Sridharan: No but now tell me, if you look at it, the case looks very very weak for RIL at least.
Niira Radia: Na naa
R. Sridharan: How are they going to, no, but how are they going to, what is the bases on which, they are going to say that this is wrong?
Niira Radia: They won’t tell to you and me naa, they wont tell you or me naa. They will go to court and then fight.
R. Sridharan: They will tell you naa, they will not tell me, but they will tell you.
Niira Radia: But I don't tell you naa. [pause]
R. Sridharan: But broadly, what is the, what is the, when and much...
Niira Radia: Na na naa, I can’t tell you that, I think that enough legal argument that exists. Enough. I said more than enough. They will decide on the strategy and I think it's enough. You read the judgement [pause]. I as a layman understood, I didn't even have to talk to my client, I as a layman understood that judgement. And understood where it was coming from and it can never be the bases, so many legal flaws. Read the judgment. I will send it. You have it?
R. Sridharan: No, no I have the copy, I have the copy.
Niira Radia: Hmm, so read it. You should consult a legal guy. You know Mukul Rohtagi and them... who drafted it will only say what they have to say... but consult an independent..
R. Sridharan: See from Mukesh's point of view, this is a very serious stuff, you know, [unclear word] also said that, you know, there is a much needed discovery, there on KG basin and all that. So haaan, this guy ... this has a claim on all additional production of gas also. On the KG basin right and all the new [unclear]. So what happens to RIL's evaluations then? If a lot of the gas evaluation is factored into it, right? If he has to share it with Anil Ambani, the valuation will fall.
Niira Radia: I would imagine that share holders are gonna have a view: Why should you start, are you a fool to spend 7 billion dollars to give it for free to your brother? At the end of the day, I am sure , there is a question mark that the share holder will raise himself. I think, I don't think, Mukesh is stupid. I think the arguments that have been raised by the honurable High Court (laughs) are a little flawed. I've seen that in case of Spectrum, it will be very interesting to see how the Supreme Court looks at that. and so I think, the argument is a larger one — you have to look at the national resource of country.
R. Sridharan: Ok tell me something, is there anyone at RIL who can informally keep us informed on what..
Niira Radia: I will send once you decided.
R. Sridharan: Aha
Niira Radia: Yeah
R. Sridharan: Someone, you can keep in touch with?
Niira Radia: Yaa, I will let you know
R. Sridharan: Thiik hai, where are you? Delhi Bombay.
Niira Radia: I am in Delhi.
R. Sridharan: You are in Delhi, not coming for fire fighting thing [laughs]?
Niira Radia: No, I can do it from Delhi you know, thanks for Raja still some Spectrum is left [laughs].
R. Sridharan: Ok, Thiik hai, when you are in Bombay, let me know , I want to catch up with you.
Niira Radia: I will do that ok.
Transcript by Somashekhar Sonnagi, checked and corrected by OL