Friday, November 19, 2010

Nira Radia and OUTLOOK Magazine's expose of 'the largest financial and economic crime in the history of independent India'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nira_Radia

Nira Radia

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Nira Radia is a PR consultant/lobbyist at the center of wiretapping controversy. It is alleged she tried to influence the 2G auction in 2008 by communicating with India's communication minister A Raja prior to the auction.[1]

Radia's family had moved to Britain after they fled Lagos, Nigeria, in the aftermath of the Idi Amin-led upheaval in Uganda in the 1970s, and she, the youngest sibling of four sisters and a brother, grew up in Londons suburbia.

Nira Radia's father, who converted to Islam and was rechristened Iqbal Menon, was an agent for Westland Helicopters in East Africa, and soon started an aircraft charter business in the UK.

A British citizen, Ridia moved from England to Surajkund, India with her three sons after her marriage to a Kutchi businessman, Janak Radia failed. In 2003, Dhiraj Singh, a business partner, was arrested with an accomplice for allegedly kidnapping her 18-year-old son.

The sleazy power-broking world was jolted into taking notice of her when Nira Radia's company, Crown Express, made an audacious bid in 2000 to launch an airline. The bid was foiled swiftly by an airline czar who apparently sent a damning dossier to the then NDA government on her former businesses in the UK — of shell companies, major debts and bankruptcy.

It was Nira Radias association with Singapore Airlines that brought her in touch with the Tatas, and despite the ill- fated Tata- SIA alliance in India, Nira Radia, through her criminal guile, had begun to impress the Tata bosses, notably Ratan Tata and R. K. Krishna Kumar, who was then the head of Tata Tea, and became her rakhi brother.

Nira Radia's strategy to attack corporate competitors is two-fold - It is about planting stories in the media to gullible or voluntary journalists, forging alliances, creating investor groups, setting up NGOs, threatening media bosses, and taking on the competition. It could be mythical lore but Nira Radia is now credited with fixing Tata Finance in 2001 when she paraded its disgraced boss, Dilip Pendse, to the media; getting the NDA government to allow Tatas to sell 26 per cent stake of VSNL; killing the DLF IPO; setting up NGOs to stall DLFs mall projects; filing PILs to hurt rivals; unleashing a media war in the Ambani vs Ambani gas case; and getting media owners in West Bengal to sing praises of its chief minister and industries minister during the Singur imbroglio. The stories of manipulation and corruption are legion. [edit] Nira Radia, A. Raja, and the largest economic crime

In 2010, the Indian Parliament was thrown into uproar over Nira Radia's unscrupulous and shady deals in business and politics. Were Indian ministries up for sale?, most notably Telecommunications & IT, then under the corrupt and shamed A. Raja of the southern Indian political party, the DMK? How did a Haryanvi-Punjabi sleazy power peddler get close to Dravida patriarch K. Karunanidhi and his third wife and daughter? The Karunanidhi family saga is like a modern-day Ramayana — with three wives, their children and powerful cousins, it is the story of family intrigue, coronations, wicked plots of rivalry and competition. It was in 2004-end that Karunanidhis third wife, Rajathiammal, and his favourite daughter, Kanimozhi, were introduced to Nira Radia. A close family source reports, “Rajathiammals close confidante, Tulsi Gautam, wife of Dr Gautam, who is the foster son of DMK founder C.N. Annadurai, introduced the two.”

A. Raja, a long-time Rajathiammal confidant, together with Nira Radia, soon became a quartet, with Nira Radia an eager companion to the younger Kanimozhi. As the family disputes spilled out into the open, the lines were clearly drawn — Nira Radia and Co. were on their own, though they sided with the family in exiling the powerful Maran cousins. It was no surprise that Raja was the patriarchs choice in replacing Dayanidhi Maran as telecom minister when the latter was shown the door in 2007.

Kanimozhi became an MP too. It was not just loyalty to the family that pushed Nira Radia to campaign for A. Raja — her star client, Tata Teleservices, had also run foul with the Marans. It was in the late 1990s that the Tatas aligned with Aircel owner C. Shivsankaran, a confidant of the late Murasoli Maran who later fell out with him over a financial deal. It was no surprise that Dayanidhi Maran decided to target the Tatas and Aircel after becoming telecom minister.

By 2008, Nira Radia was running one of the most sought- after corporate communications agency Vaishnavi, and through subsidiaries such as Neucom, Noesis Strategic Consulting Services and Vitcom Consulting, she bagged top- drawer accounts, including the Tatas, Reliance Industries, Unitech Realty, Vedanta, DB Realty, which own Swan Realty, NDTV Imagine and Star TV. To add to the firms starry status, Nira Radia also had retired bureaucrats as consultants — former Telecom Regulatory Authority of India chairman and former special secretary to the Power Ministry, Pradip Baijal, former finance secretary C. M. Vasudev, former Airports Authority of India chairman S. K. Narula and former Foreign Investment Board head Ajay Dua.

“It says a lot about our esteemed colleagues,” sneers a senior bureaucrat, “but it ties up with all of Nira Radias achievements in telecom, power and aviation.” If the Tatas bagged the state-owned Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited ( VSNL) when Baijal was in charge, both Tatas and Reliance were allowed to convert wireless to full mobility when Baijal, again, was TRAI chairman. Nira Radia's clients Unitech Wireless and Swan Telecom bagged the mega-crore 2G spectrum licences under A. Raja. [edit] The largest financial and economic crime in the history of independent India
The 2G spectrum imbroglio has brought Nira Radia out of the shadowy world in which unscrupulous lobbyists operate. Nira Radia is involved with the largest financial and economic crime in the history of independent India and faces severe criminal prosecution in India with reports filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Department of Income Tax. This financial and economic crime scam is said to have caused a loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore (Rs.1.76 trillion/approx $40 billion) to the Government of India.

[edit] References

[edit] Links


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http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?268071








Narendra Bisht
 
radia tapes
All Lines Are Busy
 
There was not one pie Niira Radia didn’t have her hand in nor any area—media, corporate or government—she didn’t have a contact in


Also In This Story   
radia tapes
 
A. Raja, Former telecom minister

radia tapes
Kanimozhi, Rajya Sabha MP

radia tapes
Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Sons

radia tapes
Barkha Dutt, Group editor, English news, NDTV

radia tapes
Vir Sanghvi, HT advisory editorial director

radia tapes
M.K. Venu, Senior business journalist

radia tapes
Tarun Das, Former CII honcho

Ranjan Bhattacharya, Former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee’s foster son-in-law

the PM
Manmohan Singh’s time, strangely, has seen more scams than any of his predecessors. What price the ‘Mr Clean’ image?
Saba Naqvi

the PM
Media grandstanding aside, it was the Pioneer that broke open the 2G scam
Debarshi Dasgupta

cag report
What punishment awaits the guilty? And can the loss be recouped?
Arindam Mukherjee

India, the republic, is now on sale. Participating in the auction is a group of powerful individuals, corporate houses, lobbyists, bureaucrats and journalists. Just before the 2G spectrum allocation scam became breaking news, the Income-Tax department was busy tapping the phones of Niira Radia, a lobbyist whose clients, the Tatas and Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd, have interests in several key sectors such as telecom, petroleum and natural gas.

Radia’s conversations show how even cabinet berths can be decided by this select oligarchy. Her interface with discredited (now former) telecom minister A. Raja, DMK mp Kanimozhi and Ranjan Bhattacharya, the foster son-in-law of former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, shows how she successfully lobbied for several cabinet berths. The transcripts suggest that journalists Vir Sanghvi and Barkha Dutt also lobbied for Raja with the Congress party. However, both journalists, in separate statements, decried the use of the label “lobbyist” and termed their conversation with Radia as part of their normal journalistic duties. Other journalists such as Prabhu Chawla, G. Ganapathy Subramaniam and M.K. Venu also had elaborate conversations with Radia on issues ranging from telecom to the Ambani brothers’ dispute on gas pricing. At times they proffer advice and trade information.

The more than 104 conversations involving Radia that were tapped by the I-T department expose a systemic rot. These tapes are now annexures in a Supreme Court petition by lawyer Prashant Bhushan seeking Raja’s prosecution.

The reaction of the Congress leadership is surprising since all these tapes were available to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as well as Pranab Mukherjee and P. Chidambaram in their capacity as finance ministers in the two UPA governments. Regardless of the existence of the tapes, the Congress leadership agreed to reinduct Raja with the telecom portfolio into the UPA-II cabinet.

The tapes also paint a dismal picture of how everything—from cabinet berths to natural resources—is now available for the right price. The now controversial 2G allocation was just one of the many manipulations orchestrated by players in high places. There are conversations on civil aviation with 1980-batch IAS officer Sunil Arora, publicist Suhel Seth and many others which have not been included here. The worst fallout, however, is that it has besmirched the hitherto ‘fair’ name of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who agreed to take Raja back in the same ministry that now stands exposed in the biggest scam in independent India, despite knowledge of the tapes.



Niira Bhajan
“When it came to spectrum, they went to Raja and paid him a bribe and got spectrum allocated.”
“Uddhav’s already taken funding from both groups. I’d suggest, tell Krishna Kumar to talk to Uddhav.”
“Otherwise I will tell them to tell Uddhav to go after them. I don’t think Congress will do much.”
“I believe Maran has given about 600 crores to Dayalu, Stalin’s mother.”
Mere client Tatas bhi bahut beneficiary thhe (in the 2G spectrum allocation).”
“Senthil, Rahul Joshi, maine donon ki le li. You can’t run stories against my clients and get away with it.”
“I have a note, no, a whole dossier, on Praful Patel on the last five years jisme ye poora aspect hai.”
Inka pichhle paanch saal mein yahi attempt to tha, inko destroy karo, donon careers ko.”
“Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley, Ananth Kumar, Venkaiah Naidu, ye sab coterie hain na of Advani.”
“Naresh wants to kill it (Air India), Vijay wants to kill it and Praful is not really interested.”
“Raja has promised me that he will not do anything in a hurry. I made Kani speak to him as well. ”
“The solicitor general, Gopal Subramaniam, I am gonna go and brief him. He hates them.”

Key excerpts of the conversations, finally in the public domain, are available from the links at the bottom of this story.
Also In This Story   
radia tapes
A. Raja, Former telecom minister

radia tapes
Kanimozhi, Rajya Sabha MP

radia tapes
Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Sons

radia tapes
Barkha Dutt, Group editor, English news, NDTV

radia tapes
Vir Sanghvi, HT advisory editorial director

radia tapes
M.K. Venu, Senior business journalist

radia tapes
Tarun Das, Former CII honcho

Ranjan Bhattacharya, Former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee’s foster son-in-law

the PM
Manmohan Singh’s time, strangely, has seen more scams than any of his predecessors. What price the ‘Mr Clean’ image?
Saba Naqvi

the PM
Media grandstanding aside, it was the Pioneer that broke open the 2G scam
Debarshi Dasgupta

cag report
What punishment awaits the guilty? And can the loss be recouped?
Arindam Mukherjee

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