Tag Archives: 2G Scam

Anna Hazare leads People’s Uprising in India

After sweeping the Arab World, the wave of People’s Uprising has reached India. As the Uprising in the Arab World was against dictatorial rule and for bringing democracy, no one would have believed that such an Uprising could ever happen in India – the biggest democracy in the world.

Democracy alone is not a guarantee for good governance. Politicians in India have exploited the weakness of the democracy and indulged in large scale corruption. Public anger against corrupt politicians has been accumulating for last several decades and reached the tipping point after recent mega scams specially 2 G and CWG. What was needed was an outlet for people to vent their anger. Problem was that almost all political parties have been marred in corruption at some point of time and therefore the general public perception is that all politicians are corrupt. While the opposition parties were hoping to cash in on people’s anger against corruption, people were in no mood to support any particular political party.

Against this backdrop, when respected social activist Anna Hazare started his movement against corruption, it immediately touched a chord with the people across the entire country. Anna Hazare was a perfect flag bearer for the moment against corruption as he has never associated with any political party and at the same time has been working for people’s cause. The present generation of India may not have seen Gandhi but they have been recently primed in favour of the Gandhian Philosophy by the Munna Bhai series of bollywod films. Anna Hazare’s Gandhian way of protest by fasti-unto-death has invoked the Munna Bhai inspired fascinations of Indian masses.

The movement is growing manifolds with every passing hour since last two days. It has perplexed not only the Government but also the opposition parties.  On one hand the Government has been forced to sit up and take notice while on the other hand opposition parties have been unsuccessfully trying to piggy back on the movement and convert the same into votes against the ruling coalition. Thankfully, the organizers of the movement have managed to keep the politicians at bay and have not allowed them to exploit the situation. Political leaders like Chautala and Uma Bharti were stopped by the public from sharing the dais with Anna Hazare and hopefully this would have given a clear signal to other politicians also.

The government on the other hand is confused. It doesn’t know how to handle this situation. If it was a protest organized by an opposition party, it would have been so easy to rubbish it by launching a counter offensive and by pointing out the corruption cases of the concerned political party. But how to deal with a 72 year old Gandhian who owns nothing, lives in a 10ft x 10ft room, has no family, is ready to risk his life by embarking on fast-unto-death and above all has suddenly become the darling of the masses. Government can not counter attack, they are forced to be respectful, they must give the impression of not rubbishing the protest and demands of Anna Hazare and yet thwart his attempt to form an independent Anti Corruption Authority called the LokPal. The Government is already having enough troubles with the existing independent authorities such as the CAG, the Supreme Court and the goof up with CVC appointment. In that sense, the ruling parties would probably get a tactical support of even the opposition parties as no political party would like to have an independent anti-corruption authority who could investigate against any minister (including the prime minister) or bureaucrat without having to seek permission.

Anna Hazare’s Movement against Corruption is fast galvanizing all social activists under one banner. Within two days the movement has spread to nearly 440 cities and towns. TV coverage of the moment looks more like a dream movie than being real news.

Soon after the World Cup victory, once again the people are out on the streets; once again the people are on a high but this time for an entirely different cause, for an entirely different purpose.

Why DMK Pulled Out from UPA Government?

Ever since Raja was forced to resign from the central government, political analyst had been expecting its fall out on the Congress-DMK alliance. DMK chose not to react at that time so as not to give the impression that it was in any way involved with the 2 G Scam. Instead, it chose to wait for the right opportunity and the right excuse. On the other hand, the Congress had also realised that dumping DMK would, to a large extent, dilute the impact of the 2 G Scam.

The inevitable finally happened on 5th March 2011, when DMK pulled out from the UPA government at the centre over failure of seat sharing negotiations with the Congress. Going by its reaction, Congress appears to be in no panic and has instead tried to play down the issue.

We have often heard of the term “marriage of convenience” in politics. This is a good example of “divorce of convenience” where both the parties were equally keen to dump each other.

According to the DMK, the seat sharing talks failed after Congress went back on its agreed position.It claims that Congress’s demand kept changing throughout the negotiations and finally the DMK had even agreed to give 60 seats to Congress as compared to 48 in the last assembly election. Gulam Nabi Azad, Congress’s negotiator, had also accepted 60 seats but changed his position after talking to Delhi.

Congress’s demand, it is believed, was influenced by factionalism within the party. Union minister and CWC member G K Vasan wanted 17 seats for his supporters while Chidambaram was gunning for 10. Rahul Gandhi further added to the confusion by demanding 7 seats for youth wing. Accounting for all these demands, the total number of seats required by Congress has gone up to 65 from 48 contested in 2006 assembly election.

The question however is not of numbers but is in fact of respective strategies of the two parties. The CBI inquiry of the 2 G Scam has virtually reached the doorsteps of the Karunanidhi family. While the CBI inquiry is being directly monitored by the Supreme Court and there is not much the Congress can do to influence the probe, the Congress must have used this opportunity to put Karunanidhi under pressure and at the same time claiming to be helpless in the matter. If Subramanium Swamy is to be believed, Raja and Karunanidhi are not the only beneficiaries of the 2 G Scam and there is a possibility of the largest share having gone to Sonia Gandhi, through her two sisters in Italy. This would mean that it would be in the interest of Congress as well to prevent the inquiry from going too deep into the matter. Sonia and Karuna may have agreed to sacrifice Raja to save their skin. However, Congress doesn’t have the situation fully under its control due to the key role being played by the Supreme Court in this matter. Further, the opposition would use the recently constituted JPC on 2 G Scam to embarrass the Congress and the DMK. The Congress would have realised that trying to save Karunanidhi may be risky and therefore has decided to dump the DMK but forcing it into a corner during the seat searing negotiations. The DMK, on the other hand, would be happy as it can contest all the assembly seats by itself and would no longer have to be dependent on the support from Congress MLAs. With the assembly elections already announced, DMK no longer has to worry about the support of Congress MLAs in the Tamil Nadu assembly. By offering issue based support to the UPA the DMK would try to “run with the hare and hunt with the hounds” that is to continue wielding pressure on the UPA Government by using its 18 MPs till the 2013 (or earlier?) General Elections and at the same time criticize the government when convenient.

The Congress has to worry about the numbers in the Lok Sabha. DMK has stopped short of fully withdrawing support and has now proposed issue based support. This gives the DMK an opportunity to behave like an ally as well as like an opposition party at the same time. Something similar to what the Left parties did during the UPA-1 rule. Congress would be weighing its options as well. Jai Lalitha has already hinted at the possibility of offering support. The problem is that AIDMK only has 9 MPs and the Congress would still need another 9 to make up for the loss. Other options are BSP, SP and BJD. Given Rahul Gandhi’s keen interest to see Congress improve its position in UP, taking support from BSP and SP may not be the preferred option.

BJD could be a viable option. However, Navin Patnaik would demand his pound of flesh too. Immediately, this may mean clearing the Lanjigarh Mines for the Vedanta Alumina Refinery. The Congress may not be too averse to the idea. Vedanta chief Anil Agarwal needs Congress’s support not just for the Lanjigarh Mine but also from the Cairns acquisition deal. Removal of Murali Deora as the Minister of Petroleum during the last minor reshuffle has already paved the way for a rapprochement on the matter. Further, after announcement of the Reliance-BP deal Mukesh Ambani may not oppose Vedanta’s take over of Cairns India. As an additional incentive, a settlement with Anil Agarwal would also help the party coffer of the Congress.

It would be interesting to watch if the Congress still tries to resolve the issue with the DMK. If not, then how many seats it can win own its own? My guess is that the Congress may not win more than 25-30 seats if it goes alone in TN. However, the bigger issue is whether the DMK would survive the 2G Scam crisis coupled with the anti incumbency factor during this election? Going by historical trends, it is AIDMK’s turn now to win the election. If so, dumping DMK may not be such a bad idea for the Congress.

Radia Tapes – Are Barkha Dutt and Vir Sanghvi Guilty?

Radia Tapes have kicked off a huge controversy over the role of the media and has raised a question mark over the impartiality of the Fourth Estate. Involvement of top journalists, Barkha Dutt and Vir Sanghvi, has raised an unprecedented outrage, especially in the Indian internet community, which has in the last few years emerged as an alternate media. While the press and media initially tried to black out the news, presumably to protect their fellow journalists, the alternate media, most notably Twitter and Blogs, thwarted these plans. #Barkhagate hashtag become the symbol of emergence of the new media and end of the era of doctored news coverage.

Barkha Dutt tried her best to put up a brave face by responding to the mob fury over Twitter and Facebook. NDTV too came out in her defense and tried to put back the blame on OPEN Magazine and its editor Manu Josef who first published the story. NDTV threatened to take “appropriate action” for defamation. Response of Hindustan Times was more subdued which published Vir Sanghvi’s response on its website and not in the main news paper.

Once the old media realized the futility of the black out, they slowly started to come out of hiding. Having missed out on a juicy “Breaking News” opportunity, they didn’t want to continue to fight a losing battle and tried to cash in on the fall out news.

We must bear in mind that the leaked tapes represent only 10 hours of recording from the total of 2000 hours of taped conversation available with the Government. Although, the Government has initiated an enquiry into the leaks, it is a foregone conclusion that the leaks were deliberately planted by the ruling Congress Party to send out a strong message to certain individual and parties that it is in the possession of the ammunition needed to fix them if they went against Congress.  Union home secretary G K Pillai says, “The 100-odd tapes that are now public have nothing to do with the ongoing probe into the 2G scam case. The real details on the spectrum scam are in the remaining 5,000-plus recordings that haven’t yet come out in the open but will become public at some point of time.”

To start with, Lobbying in India is invariably disguised as PR, Media Management, Communication and Consultancy. It is an open secret that all the top business houses use political lobbyists and the top lobbyist are well known in political, business and media circles. However, this is the first case that has come out in public domain about a lobbyist being put under surveillance by the government. This must have let the cat loose amongst the pigeons and forced people (who use lobbyists) to be extremely concerned about loss of their privacy. Phone tapping has always been a contentious issue in politics but this is probably the first occasion when tapped conversions have been leaked into the public domain. After the Radia Tapes controversy, what would be the future of lobbyists in India? In spite of the danger, in all probability, businessmen and politicians would still continue to use them albeit now with a greater caution. People will try to find new and innovative ways of communication to counter surveillance. These may work for a short while but the intelligence agencies would finally catch up with them and find ways to monitor them. The recent standoff between the Indian Government and Blackberry is an indication that all means of communication would have to allow intelligence surveillance.

What is worth noting is that the majority of the public anger on Radia Tapes was directed towards Barkha Dutt and Vir Sanghvi. No one had any complain against Kanimozhi or Rata Tata or Mukesh Ambani. Why? Possibly because today in the eyes of the public politicians and businessmen are expected to indulge in dirty dealings but most people thought journalists, especially the top ones, were above suspicion. We Indians love to idealize of idols. We think they have descended from the heaven as our saviors. We don’t want to think of them as normal human beings as vulnerable to the temptations of this world as we are. When this dream shatters our worship transforms into hatred and anger. There was a time when we used to idealize our politicians and public servants in the same way but not any longer. Our dream leaders now exist only in our dreams. This realization about politicians is the results of tens possibly hundreds of scam stories that we have read, heard and seen in the media over the last many years. This is the first scandal involving journalists. We would become more and more pragmatic after a few more scandals.

So the real reason for the public outrage against media personalities was shattering of our myth about them. It always hurts the first time. As a consequence, most of what has appeared in the old and new media is all about how journalists must behave and how these two have blemished the noble profession. We need to ask ourselves whether our high expectations and subsequent outrage is fair. Have they committed a crime in the eye of the law? If we only go by the leaked conversation, they haven’t. But their biggest crime is betrayal of public expectation.

To understand the issue, let’s look at what happened from a logical angle. Who was Niira Radia working for? Ratan Tata for sure. From the tapes, she also appears to have worked for Kanimozhi and also Raja during UPA 2 cabinet formation. Were these people her independent clients? Perhaps not. Ratan Tata wanted Raja to continue as the Minister of Telecom. Sunil Mittal, his rival in the telecom field, was unhappy with Raja and was lobbying to have Raja replaced by Maran. This also means, Tata didn’t want Maran. Kanimozhi was lobbying to keep Maran out. She was comfortable with  Raja. Karunanidhi was almost inaccessible and although he held all the cards for DMK, there was no way, at least for the Dilli walah’s to approach him directly. Karunanidhi was also  apparently reluctant to name an official negotiator for DMK as he had to strike a delicate balance amongst the family members (Kanimozhi, Maran, Stalin, Azhagiri etc) as well as senior party leaders (Baalu and Raja). Kanimozhi, in spite of being Karunanidhi’s daughter, was not in a position to directly influence the decision. She wanted help from Congress to keep Maran out and was using Nirra to lobby for her in Congress. Maran, taking advantage of Karunanidhi’s inaccessibility, had managed to convey the impression to the Congress that he was the official negotiator for DMK. Kanimozhi wanted to dissuade the Congress from talking to Maran and talk to her instead saying that she would provide access to Karnunaidhi. She also wanted Congress to drop Maran and Baalu. Nirra apparently did not have a direct access to the people who mattered (Ahmed Patel and Gulaam Navi Azad) in Congress and was using Barkha Dutt and Vir Sanghvi for her lobbying.

We need to keep in mind that 2G Spectrums were allotted in January 2008 and the Radia Tapes on UPA 2 Cabinet formation were recorded in May 2009. It is worthwhile to note that Radia’s conversation with Ratan Tata veers around 3 G Spectrum allocations. Keep in mind that, in December 2007, Ratan Tata, in a handwritten letter to Karunanidhi, reportedly praised Raja’s “rational, fair and action-oriented” leadership, stressing the spectrum controversy had been created by “vested interests”. Tata was a victim of Raja’s predecessor Dayanidhi Maran, who had reportedly tried to arm-twist the group to give an equity share in its direct-to-home venture to the Sun TV group.

From Radia’s conversation with Tata, another interesting angle emerges which is Tata’s rivalry with Anil Ambani in the telecom field as both were trying to lobby for the 3 G Spectrum allotment. See this in light of the rivalry between Mukesh and Anil Ambani and also the fact that Radia was working for Mukesh Ambani brings another interesting alignment between her two most important clients – Ratan Tata and Mukesh Ambani. Although Mukesh has no interest in telecom and Rata Tata doesn’t get along very well with Mukesh, but from Radia’s angle checkmating Anil Ambani would have pleased both Mukesh and Tata using “Enemy’s enemy is your friend” theory.

This theory coupled with “Friend’s friend is your friend’ also seemed to have worked in the case of Kanimuzhi. Radia may not have been working directly for Kanimozhi but here Maran is the common enemy and Raja is the common friend. Ratan Tata and Kanimozhi both didn’t want Maran. Tata specifically didn’t want him as the minister of Telecom and Kanimozhi didn’t want him in the cabinet. Tata wanted Raja back in the same position and Raja is acceptable to Kanimozhi also.

Putting two and two together, it is not too difficult to conclude that Radia was primarily lobbying on behalf of Ratan Tata to ensure that Raja is back as the telecom minister and at no cost Maran gets this position. How would Radia go about achieving this? She would have had to work on DMK and Congress both. So she would try to find out who are the most influential people in DMK, after Karunanidhi of course and amongst them who is opposed to Maran and preferably also favourable to Raja. In Kalimozhi, she found the perfect match she was looking for. Raja was always on her side as he stood to benefit by what Raida was trying to achieve. Another important person in DMK was Azhagiri who was opposed to Maran but given his limitations in English language, Radia would have found it very difficult to deal with him directly but working with Kanimozhi and Raja she made sure that Azagiri was on their side. On the other hand, Radia would have had to work on Congress but she didn’t have direct access to Sonia’s inner circle (read Ahmed Patel). Gulam Navi Azad was somewhat important because Tamilnadu was under his charge and therefore he was in the loop. So, Radia used Barkha Dutt, Vir Sanghvi and Tarun Das to lobby in Congress. It is interesting to note that during this lobbying while Kanimozhi and Raja were on the same side, they didn’t seem to be directly talking to each other and most of the communication or alignment between them was being managed through Radia.

Coming back to Barkha Dutt and Vir Sanghvi’s role. In spite of being a huge embarrassment for both, they do not seem to be on the wrong side of the law and nobody has so  far suggested a legal action against them. But is all this so simple? Certainly not! Barkha and Vir both, in their responses, have tried to justify their dealing by saying that they were trying to extract stories from Radia. Have a look at conversation, at no place you would get the slightest hint that any one of them was showing any interest in extracting any information from Radia. The impression you get is that Raida was practically directing both to do what she wanted.

Why would top journalists like Barkha and Vir take orders from Radia? The answer is obvious – this is only possible with a quid pro quo arrangement. What did the two get in return or at least what were they hoping to get in return? First thing that comes to one’s mind is MONEY. Yes, quite possible and why not. What else is a better way to compensate someone who does your work?

We can easily guess who was getting what – Radia was getting money from Tata. Kanimozhi was getting political benefit. Raja was getting both. Radia may have received money from Kanimozhi and Raja as well but that was certainly not her primary objective. The only two people left are Barkha and Vir. They both had good jobs and had no apparent interest in getting a better career deal through Radia. So, what else could be their interest if not money?

Is there any substance in Barkha and Vir’s argument that they were dealing with Radia with a hope to extract news bites? Possibly to some extent because Radia would have definitely had lot of inside information about political and business field. But the question is – would she divulge any confidential information related to her clients or dealings related to them? Certainly not – that would have been suicidal for her. All she could have or might have done is to provide some juicy stories about the rivals of her clients but that was her job. In fact, in such case, the direction of the favour is reverse. The journalists would have done Radia a favour by publishing the joucy stories about the rivals of her client. So following simple logic – one can’t think of any other way Radia would have returned the favour to the two journalists.

So, have Barkha and Vir compromised their professional ethics? Barkha in her response has painstakingly tried to convince her viewers that “Judge us (meaning NDTV) from our coverage.” She is somewhat right – NDTV’s coverage may not have been influenced by Barkha’s dealing with Congress for the simple reason that NDTV couldn’t have been any more pro Congress than it already was.

One last question is – why were the Congress boys listening to Barkha and Vir and the obvious answer is – each party, and especially Congress, has got its blue eyed journalists with whom exchange of favours is not surprising. It is an open secret that NDTV is virtually a Congress mouthpiece and Barkha Dutt plays a big role in that. Owned by the Birlas, Hindustan Times, traditionally, has been a pro congress news paper and therefore Vir also fits perfectly in this picture.

Radia Tapes – Ratan Tata

(Source : http://www.outlookindia.com)

Jun 11, 2009 15:57:59

Venkat: hello

Niira Radia: Venkat Hi.

Venkat: Hi

Can you talk?

Venkat: Yeah, yeah, tell me

Niira Radia: I just wanted to check. I just got a call from … R.S. Thakur to go to TACO [Tata AutoComp]. I believe Mr Tata has given some
clearances… on is it some of the JV thing is disbanded, right?

Venkat: Yes, that’s right.

Niira Radia: I just wanted to get some heads up from you because earlier we were briefed by Taco on it and I just wanted to get a heads up from you in terms of what was the final approval that’s being given so that beforeI meet him on Monday, I know what’s the plan for media that one needs to adopt

Venkat: I don’t know the details. Either Mr [unclear] or Mr Gopal can fill in

Niira Radia: OK, I will talk to them

Venkat: But thing is Mr Tata’s no longer the chairman of Taco

Niira Radia: I know that, yeah

Venkat: Yeah

Niira Radia: OK, ok, are you gonna be in office later?

Venkat: Yes, I am there in office. I might be back a little late but otherwise..

Niira Radia: You are with Mr Tata, right? I need to brief him on telecom, haan, just let him know

Venkat: Yeah, just one second

Niira Radia: Yeah, ok
——————————————————————————–
Ratan Tata: Hi.

Niira Radia: Hi, how are you?

Ratan Tata: Fine, thanks.

Niira Radia: I haven’t troubled you last few days, I said let me call you once. I was hoping to come to Bombay but then I know you are not going to go away next week, you aren’t there next week

Ratan Tata: I am going away day after tomorrow

Niira Radia: I was going to come on Sunday but then I remembered you aren’t there next week so I thought let me try to shift my travel to come week after, when you are there. Is that going to be okay?

Ratan Tata: Yes, that’s fine

Niira Radia: Yeah? Would I get a chance to meet you

Ratan Tata: Yes, of course

Niira Radia: See I just need to brief you on Telecom. But maybe… shall I speak to you when you are at home in the evening, would that be better?

Ratan Tata: No, I am in the car… up to you…

Niira Radia: Ok. I just…just… Ravi and I had… I mean Anil and I had gone to meet up with minister.

Ratan Tata: Yeah

Niira Radia: And I have been meeting him separately on…. The sense I am getting… and that’s the sense I have been getting is that whilst he is moving ahead
as far as 3G is concerned…

Ratan Tata: Yeah

Niira Radia: …the sense I am getting is that he seems to be pretty hellbent on this 6.25 MHtz to go to Anil Ambani.

Ratan Tata: Uh, huh

Niira Radia: And I have told him that we will oppose it vehemently … it will not… unless we get all our spectrum.. so we have moved 2-3 processes… one is that we want harmonisation of spectrum to start…with harmonisation taking place, a lot of the Spectrum will get clear in some of the areas.

Ratan Tata: Uh, huh

Niira Radia: The second thing I have said to him is that there is about 5 MHtz that is coming in from Defence on 2G

Ratan Tata: Yeah

Niira Radia: What I am proposing to him is that you first give us our 4.4 in Delhi…on that…

Ratan Tata: Yeah

Niira Radia: …because that holds us up…. We’ve moved 3-4 processes separately with the department … I have met Dr Sarma also. But the sense I am getting is that Dr Sarma will not say no to his own judgment. He’s been given the… the minister’s gonna involve him in the consultation process

Ratan Tata: Yeah

Niira Radia: On this whole 6.25 issue…

Ratan Tata: Yeah

Niira Radia: I have …Given that it was Dr Sarma’s own judgment in TDSAT that they are reling on, he is obviously not going to obviously contradict his own judgment. So I told you…

Ratan Tata: And his judgment is 6.25?

Niira Radia: Correct…yeah…

Ratan Tata: I see

Niira Radia: It’s 6.25… meaning that… DoC’s recent committee has given a report, which was set up during a time when the election process was on, which said that we should limit it to 4.4 as being the licence condition and then thereafer we should just move to proceeding towards either a fee-determined model which is what you had earlier you had proposed in the 3G segment but in the 2G also they are saying let’s agree on a fee, and what is the basis we agree on that fee, let’s work out whether it is … over a period of time or whether it is…

Ratan Tata: But …Would Sarma subscribe to a view that 6.25 would only give it to one person?

Niira Radia: No, what Dr Sarma has done is… it is a very clever judgment, Ratan. The judgement says your licence condition earlier used to be limited to 4.4 and then you were entitled to another 1.8 which took you up to 6.2. Between the 4.4 and the 1.8 additional was the root of subscriber base…

Ratan Tata: Yeah

Niira Radia: So you got 4.4 as your entitlement when you became a licence holder…

Ratan Tata: Yeah

Niira Radia: …and thereafter you had to have X amount of subscribers to qualify for additional 1.8

Ratan Tata: Yeah

Niira Radia: What has happened here is that Dr Sarma’s view is, in the judgement, that all subscribers…uh, that all licence holders should be entitled to
6.25 in any case so that they can plan their network.

Ratan Tata: Yeah

Niira Radia: And thereafter there should be an agreed fee-determination that should take place. And what is that fee can be determined either be through an auction route or it can be through a model of what has been an cap-ex and op-ex [?] spend that you’ve had to incur if you were taking spectrum up. And all work out… Basically, he’s given two to three different formulas that one could apply which would in effect all end up taking your EGRs [?] up to 9 to 12 %

Ratan Tata: Yeah

Niira Radia: The challenge is that whilst he’s given a very innocent, uh, judgement, the other side has upped the subscriber-base by having false subscribers. For example, today, in Jammu they have been deactivated by 36,000 of connections because they were supplying them to militants [?]. And they were doing all sorts of wrong stuff. I know, we know that their subscriber-base is fudged almost to 50% By giving false subscriber-base — where Dr Sarna is silent in his judgement on that — they will be able to secure 6.25 in all circles and they’d almost end up jumping the queue again So I told Raja that your 6.25 can only happen to one party if Anil Ambani … if first Tata Tele Services …as from my point of view is the second licence.. if you’ve given Anil Ambani …already 4.4, we are entitled to Spectrum after that immediately. But, actually, my first complaint is that, no, we were entitled as #1…
Ratan Tata: Yeah

Niira Radia: …but you have now made a fait accompli and given them 4.4, oky? So okay, before you give Unitech, before you give Swan, before you give anybody else, we should be the first in queue because as far as we are concerned, dual technology was an existing licence for all and in your criteria, when you made submission to court, you said ‘existing licence holders’ first. So We automatically get entitled to that and then after that whether Sunil Mittal gets 1 MHz in Delhi or whatever, then the new licences operate… He… there is an interpretation issue on that and they are playing very cleverly on it again… My worry is that after they give 6.25 to Anil Ambani…

Ratan Tata: Um, hmmm

Niira Radia: …including in Delhi, because he has just gone in and given an application for Delhi and key metros, and we will be struggling because there is only 5 MHz being released by Defence for Delhi and we will be again struggling…

Ratan Tata: Yeah

Niira Radia: …Because we would not have built up our subscriber base any case– between 4.4 and 6.25… because we are just launching now.

Ratan Tata: Yeah

Niira Radia: And we are not fudging like they have done.
Ratan Tata: Yeah

Niira Radia: So they will now make us wait another one and a half to two years for getting Spectrum. So I am saying to Raja that the moment you shift from this … because there is an interpretation … and I have said this to Dr Sarma also, I said Dr Sarma, don’t take this report because you will have no credibility because you have already given a judgement and you can’t be doing this report because you are in conflict technically speaking because y’know you are looking at your judgement again this time as TRAI…So there is a grey area there

Ratan Tata: You need to find a way that he doesn’t oppose this judgment and you still gives you what you believe is right

Niira Radia: Which is why I told him I told him that if you say you give me 6.25… er, that you are going to give the other side 6.25 first, please first assure me that there is 4.4 available for us everywhere else… everywhere that we are entitled to get When we do our sums on the Spectrum spread that is available…we get stuck in Delhi and some key areas

Ratan Tata: Yeah because if he wants a way to oppose his judgment and clarifies that in the fairness of things, everyone should get the base of 4.4

Niira Radia: 4.4… yeah, that’s what I am telling him Ratan and that’s what he is not in agreement with
Ratan Tata: Why?

Niira Radia: Neither Raja nor him…are in agreement.. because his basic premise is that I think the operators must have 6.25 because that is what his judgment says they should have 6.25 even if that’s on …subscriber base…

Ratan Tata: That’s fine but there’s no sense in this if Spectrum is not available…

Niira Radia: hmmm

Ratan Tata: … that you stick by that so that only one subscriber gets it

Niira Radia: No, he is giving us another carrot and that is if you go to TDSAT now you will get helped and you come to me somehow and I will say that you were second in the queue and that operators like Swan and Telenor who should not have got spectrum…or Unitech… who should not have got Spectrum because it was not rolled down, their spectrum should be taken away and given to us. I said no body is gonna allow that to happen because they will get a stay

Ratan Tata: Yeah

Niira Radia: They’ll go to Supreme Court and they will buy their way through a stay and we’ll never get it … so don’t show us something which you and I know is not going to happen. So when I went to Anil Sardana on Monday and took him to meet the minister on Tuesday, I told him that, I said don’t accept this because this is just.. they’re just showing you a route which is going to be unacceptable… let’s look at what’s available on the ground… the moment we allow 6.25, we are stuck. So this is…So I just wanted to tell you this.. I am seeing him again. Raja’s promised me that he’s not going to do anything in a hurry, which I think he will not. I made Kani speak to him as well. He’s not going to do anything in a hurry at all, he’s promised that. So we’ve got some time and we’re.. I am gonna to meet Dr Sarma again on Monday. I will try not to come to Bombay and finish this in the course of next week. I just wanted to tell you that this is actually what’s actually going on on the ground… I wanna go with this thing that 4.4 is the entitlement and everyone must get that before we even start talking on 6.25

Ratan Tata: Yeah, but if he can word it… so that he agrees to 6.25 but he just makes this a precondition…

Niira Radia: Yeah…

Ratan Tata: …or clarifies that it would be fair that this be so otherwise it would be a monopoly…

Niira Radia: Hmmm

Ratan Tata: ….or not a monopoly…but a… a .. disparity…

Niira Radia: Disparity, yeah. It’s a grave disparity… it’s craziness and I mean… y’know, they are getting [unclear?]…. in various cricles to agree to their figures which are fudged … and there’s no way… there has to be a mechanism of actually verifying subscribers… of all operators.. I mean, they are saying, fine, y’know, we are comfortable if you verify our subscribers as well…We have no problems with that as long as … we can launch a service and you don’t put us at a disadvantage … we need our basic 4.4 to even launch

Ratan Tata: Yeah

Niira Radia: So, yeah, that’s the sort of thought process… Just want to tell you that Round II of the telecom battle starts. I don’t know how many more battles there will be.

Ratan Tata: I’m surprised that Raja after all that you supposedly did for him is playing this game.

Niira Radia: I met…I explained to Kani. I met her yesterday on the way home last evening. I told her, Kani, look, this is what is happening. You need to have to have a word with him. And so…She said, give me a note and I’m gonna just call him up and tell him that he has to behave. He (Raja) very clearly told me, ‘Tell me, Niira, how can I go against what the court has said?” So I said, ‘Hello, Mr Raja, you can go against the court. You don’t have to accept what the court has said because 4.4 (megahertz) is what the licence entitlement is and it’s for you to interpret.’ So there is this little game going on.

Ratan Tata: But now with the new attorney-general or whatever he is…

Niira Radia: No, Ratan, that’s a good thing. I’ll tell you why—because he can only handle constitutional matters. The solicitor-general is the gentleman—I told you about the swimming pool thing—Gopal Subramaniam. He’s the guy who has to do the interpretation.

Ratan Tata: I see.

Niira Radia: I’m going to see him. I sent him a message and he said he will call back at around 5.30-6 when he gets free and he reaches home. So I will be briefing him…. Actually, he hates them (the Anil Ambani group). I’m not sure he’ll agree to what they say.
Ratan Tata: Yeah

Niira Radia: He’s a very upright person….

Ratan Tata: Yeah

Niira Radia: I think Raja will be trying to get in the Attorney General. He briefed Prime Minister yesterday about 3G saying he wants to put up a 3G cabinet note and doesn’t want to go to the GoM. I think that’s a bit of a hogwash.

Ratan Tata: Uh huh

Niira Radia: I think They’ll do all this drama but I don’t think there’ll be 3G auctioning before March next year.

Ratan Tata: Uh huh

Niira Radia: I don’t think… they’re not gonna do it in a hurry.

Ratan Tata: Uh huh

Niira Radia: And the only reason they want to do 6.25 (MHZ) for Anil is so that he can get AT&T to buy into his company. AT&T is talking to him right now, Ratan.

Ratan Tata: I see…

Niira Radia: Yeah, coz he needs an equity partner otherwise he can’t survive with the debt he’s got. His avenues have closed on raising more money unless he
fudges some other things and raises money.

Ratan Tata: Why isn’t all of this getting exposed?

Niira Radia: Ratan, they’re buying up the media. They’re using their buying power with the media. For every ad they place…I can’t explain to you the discussions I have had with the media, in particular the Times Group and Dainik Bhaskar—the Aggarwal guys who came and met you….

Ratan Tata: Yeah…

Niira Radia: They say, Niira, every time we do a negative story on them, they withdraw advertising. So, I said, fine, others can also withdraw advertising…. So just because we are upright about how we do things and we don’t leverage … They leverage every dollar of their media-spend to ensure they don’t get any negative publicity I am sitting on, you know, the sort of stuff, you know, that I’ve got is unbelievable and the same thing… I’ve made even Mukesh’s people talk to them but then ultimately it’s come down to the… media-spend.
We need leverage with the media. The media has become very, very greedy….
It will eventually come out. When the first time happens… when the barriers get broken, then it’s a different thing altogether … then everybody starts saying, oh we are the men with integrity… we are this thing… but they are as bad as … [hell? ’em?]
I have already, y’know, very quietly, through journalists who are straightforward… I have done a lot of stories already … All on his debt I have done lots of stories already all on his debts… I have had most of the analysts community writing reports on it which is circulating … I have done all that … through analysts… like UBS has done a report, Kotak has done a report, Mcquiry [check?] has done a report… on both the power sector as well as telecom in which… in that he’s got huge problems … that his [?] are not correct, his revenue figures seem to be a little problematic and that he would find it difficult to raise any further funds. So all that is already there…but what happens: the media doesn’t carry that, or when they carry, so that they don’t get… they dilute it because he’s there sitting on their heads… he’s got two people just monitoring [?]…play in the media… So I am saying to Anil… I told Anil Sardana also the same thing… I said… we have have to advertise because these are our brands… and we do what we have to do… but we gonna have to also start… we have to leverage… some part of it … you know we have to tighten this thing… We can’t work in isolation.. Working in isolation is causing this challenge.. I told Raja very clearly that you are going to have negative press because.. anything above.. because you give this guy 6.25… [unclear] Because Sunil Mittal is not going to sit quiet. And he’s told me that he’s not going to sit quiet.
[silence]

Ratan Tata: Hmm

Niira Radia: So there’s.. a … so I will talk to Anil again…Anil… he and I were supposed to touch base today…

Ratan Tata: Yeah

Niira Radia: … But I am meeting, Ratan, everyone I am required to meet… I don’t think the report will happen in a hurry so we will go through a consultation process

Ratan Tata: OK

Niira Radia: So let’s see what we can … best do. We’ll be aggressive about our approach.

Ratan Tata: OK

Niira Radia: Yeah? I will see you then when you are back

Ratan Tata: Yeah

Niira Radia: OK then, bye

Radia Tapes – A Raja, Former Telecom Minister

(Source : http://www.outlookindia.com)

22 May 2009, 01:42:37

Nira: Hello?

Raja: Raja here

Nira: Hi! I got a message from Barkha Dutt just now

Raja: Huh?

Nira: Barkha Dutt

Raja: What does she say?

Nira: She says… that she has been following up the story with Prime Minister’s Office tonight. In fact, she was the one who told me that Sonia Gandhi went there. She says that he has no problem with you, but he has a problem with Baalu

Raja: …but it has to be discussed with Leader

Nira: yeah, yeah… he has to discuss with the Leader. He has to tell…

Raja: It will be discussed in the morning… why unnecessarily Congress… [indiscernible] tie-up is going out

Nira: No, but then the question is about Azhagiri, no?

Raja: Huh?

Nira: Azhagiri’s people are saying: why is Maran getting Cabinet when he is such a senior leader himself?

Raja: That is different, but all these things must be explored and disclosed

Nira: That’s right. That’s right. I told her to get Congress…

Raja: At least, one to one, let it be disclosed to Leader

Nira: One to one?

Raja: One to one. Somebody should give a message, at least in a sealed cover, that we are having serious problems to Baalu

Nira: From Congress, right?

R: Yes

N: Okay, I’ll tell her. She is talking to Ahmed Patel, so I will talk to him

Raja: Let him [sic] call at least over phone: Sir, this is problem… we are having high regard, we are having no problem with Raja, but problem is Baalu. Tell.

Nira: Then how will you resolve the other problem?

Raja: Other problems we will take care of slowly, because now Leader comes down

Nira: Uh huh.

R: Don’t worry

N: Now Leader comes down to three, no?

Raja: Comes down for [sic] three…

Nira: Yeah

Raja: Even you are saying that Maran is not fit for infrastructure… he is having controversy… alright, let him be accommodated in the existing ministry… at least we will suggest

Nira: Maran?

Raja: Hmm… you suggest, you send a message

Nira: Uh, huh

Raja: Okay

Nira: Okay

May 22, 2009, 13:20:29

NIRA calling RAJA. Put on hold

RAJA: Tell me, Nira

NIRA: The thing is that the Congress has been totally confused as to who they need to speak to.

RAJA: Huh?

NIRA: Who they need to speak to in the DMK

RAJA: Ah… somebody should fly to Leader

NIRA: No, no… That is why, I am now… they’re going to speak to Kani in a little while, and then Kani is going to take them to Leader directly, and let Kani…

RAJA: That is good, that is good.

NIRA: Yeah? I have done… just told them that, because they’re completely confused who to talk to. Yeah?

RAJA: Let them talk to Kani

NIRA: Yeah, but Kani should also be sensible enough to say that she does not want anything for herself. No? I have told her that…

RAJA: Hmm

NIRA: …but you also make sure.

RAJA: No problem

NIRA: I told them. I told them that whatever…

RAJA: See, tell Kani: let her call Leader, (tell him) this is the problem, shall I bring the people?

NIRA: Yeah, because what they’re saying is that they will not give infrastructure to Baalu and Maran. They should say that to Leader directly, no?

RAJA: No problem. Look See… let them go along with Kani, and let them tell that we are having problem with these fellows

RAJA: That’s right. That’s what they have to do… they were confused… what happened is: for the UPA meeting, Maran went along… so they think Maran is the interlocutor, he is the person who’s going to talk, so there is this…

RAJA: Not at all. He came for assistance, that’s all

NIRA: No. I know, but you see this is a wrong message that has gone out, and they don’t know

May 23, 2009, 14:29:41

NIRA: Raja how are you?

RAJA: Haan, What she is telling, Kani is telling?

NIRA: She’s telling that she’s okay about it. She has no problem…

RAJA: Hmm

NIRA: …but the only thing is that somebody has to go talk to Azhagiri, which you have to do.

RAJA: Hmm

NIRA: And tell him how Maranhas gone and told…

RAJA: Haan, I already spoke with him, I already spoke with him…

NIRA: You told him what he has told the Congress leaders in Delhi?

RAJA: I know. So who planted in the minds of the Congress saying that Azhagiri doesn’t know English… I know…

NIRA: No, no, no, no…. Not only that. Not only that. That he and Stalin tomorrow will be the only ones left to run the party because the old man is senile and he is not going to be around any longer, and therefore Congress will be happy doing business with him because it will be him… him eventually, and he controls Stalin.

RAJA: Hmm…

NIRA: This is what he has said.

RAJA: Oh, ho, ho, ho!

NIRA: And that Azhagiri is criminal…

RAJA: Hmm…

NIRA: And he has not even studied more than 5th standard.

RAJA: Oh…

NIRA: That’s the exact thing that he has told.

RAJA: Okay, okay

NIRA: You go and tell him this, no?

RAJA: No I shared with Azhagiri…Azhagiri in turn went to speak with Leader.

NIRA: No, but he has also said this… that in Delhi, I am the only one that you have to deal with eventually because, any case, Stalin will remain in the State

RAJA: I know, see, I know what type of propaganda he will manage…

May 24, 2009, 11:05:11

Nira: Hi!

Raja: Hello?

Nira: Hi!

Raja: Tell me.

Nira: Mr Raja?

Raja: Yes?

Nira: Nira

Raja: Tell me, Nira, anything?

Nira: I sent you an SMS. I’ve been speaking to Kani, so I just thought that… basically what they are saying is that you should be there.

Raja: Haan

Nira: Leader is generally is saying that you should be there, because of the, you know, the Dalit dispensation, all that, you know. The Dravidian, the party, and all that… saying that Leader, if it was left to him, he would have focused on the party first. This is unfortunate that his family is coming in the way and Cho Ramaswamy has given a favourable remark that it should be limited to this thing

Raja: Okay

Nira: But I’ve been talking to Kani, she spoke to me, she said, “No independent.” They are not giving independent… just now.

Raja: My case is clear, yes?

Nira: Yours is clear, yeah. Your case was cleared last night only

Raja: Okay

Nira: No, but what is happening with Daya?

Raja: What?

Nira: Daya?

Raja: Rest of the thing is… Textiles or Fertilisers

Nira: Not for Daya…

Raja: Either of them.

Nira: But Azhagiri or Daya? Only one can come, no?

Raja: No, two. Two can come.

Nira: Both?

Raju: Baalu will be the problem. I hope [sic]

Nira: I think that will be difficult for the Leader to justify three family members.

Raja: That is it, that is… (chuckles) everybody knows

Nira: No, no, she said that. Kani told me this last night, that’s what the father told her yesterday.

R: Oh

N: That for him to justify three family members will become very difficult. He recognises that problem.

Raja: What can you do? We’ll see, let us wait.

Nira: Yeah. I think he will have to relook at that. You’re all meeting him individually now? Or the meeting is still going on?

Raja: Not at all, not at all.

Nira: Narayanan’s meeting is going on?

Raja: Narayanan’s meeting is over. He has gone to Delhi, with cover.

Nira: He’s gone to?

Raja: He has gone to catch the flight… with cover.

Nira: Narayanan, yeah?

Raja: List, list…with the list, he has gone out.

Nira: He has gone out with the list, no?

Raja: I didn’t know what is inside the cover.

Nira: And Kani? Is with father?

Raja: Maybe yes… maybe she knows.

Nira: I will call her now. And you are not there?

Raja: I am not yet there.

Nira: You’re not there? And Maran? Maran is there, no?

Raja: (He is) there, yes

Nira: Why you didn’t go?

Raja: I didn’t go.

Nira: Huh?

Raja: Alright… why should we go?

Nira: You should be there, no?

Raja: No problem… morning I met, and thereafter I came back for another work

Nira: And Azhagiri… he knows what Maran has been saying about him?

Raja: …it is known to Azhagiri.

Nira: It is, no?

Raja: It is known to Azhagiri, but he cannot talk with father… timely (sic) he will speak, only thing is, Maran will start the campaign against me…

N: Hmm

R: …that has to be taken care of

Nira: You have to fight differently.

R: Hmm… he may tell the press Prime Minister is coming again… this and that… spectrum…

Nira: No, no… we are handling… don’t worry. We have to take so much off, you know, even Congress had to make that statement, no? I spoke to Sunil Mittal…Did Chandoliya tell you?

Raja: I didn’t know

Nira: I told him to stop. I told him, it doesn’t help…

Raja: Hmm …tell Sunil Mittal, you have to work along with Raja for another five years. So, don’t …

Nira: I told him that. I told him that. But then you also have to distance yourself from Anil. You must be neutral.

Raja: Ah that we can keep.

Radia Tapes – Kanimozhi, daughter of DMK Chief Karunanidhi

(Source : http://www.outlookindia.com)

May 22, 2009, 10:45:06

Kanni: Hello.

Nira: Kanni, apparently they relayed to your father yesterday…

Kanni: Mm-hmm.

Nira: That they do not want to give any infrastructure portfolio to Balu or Maran.

Kanni: Yeah. But nobody, who told it?

Nira: No, no. He was told apparently very, very clearly, it has been…

Kanni: No, he was not, he was not. That is the problem. Who came and told him?

Nira: They came in or, you know, told him or they must have spoken to him and Prime Minister spoke to him.

Kanni: No. Prime Minister did not. I was the one who was talking with him. I was on the phone and he – Prime Minister said a few words, that’s all. And see, Prime Minister can’t talk on a phone to dad and convey, there is obviously… Prime Minister is also, you know, very soft spoken and dad can’t hear that clearly also.

Nira: Mm-hmm.

Kanni: And the conversation was not so long that they could have conveyed all that.

Nira: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Kanni: They might have told somebody that, you don’t know whether that person is conveyed [Indiscernible] [0:01:02].

Nira: Right. Right. Right. Right. Right. Okay. Let me find out who they conveyed it to, my God there is so many people working on the thing, it’s unbelievable.

Kanni: Yeah. See even somebody is [Indiscernible] [0:01:18] lower level could have conveyed, they couldn’t have come and conveyed it.

Nira: Okay. Okay.

Kanni: All that is there, you know, and it depends on the credibility of the person who came and conveyed it, whether coming from them or not.

Nira: Right. Right. Right.

Kanni: Even I got a news like this but I don’t know – somehow, somebody senior who has convey it, you know.

Nira: That’s right. That’s right. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. All right, I’m going to just tell them again, yeah. I’ll call you back then.

Kanni: And see one more thing is that one of them can call Ghulam can call me and tell me.

Nira: That’s right.

Kanni: And I can go and tell dad and but somebody has to come and say, yes they’ve said it. So, otherwise it would reflect very badly on me.

Nira: Right. Right. Okay. Okay. Listen, I’m meeting your mom at 12:30 hopefully.

Kanni: Okay. I’m here, I’m around.

Nira: Okay.

Kanni: Please don’t tell this to mom, she will mess it up and go and tell some rubbish.

Nira: No, no, no, no.

Kanni: That won’t happen, ask Ghulam to call me and talk to me. I’ll be here around, you know.

Nira: Okay. Okay.

May 22, 2009, 11:15:41

Kanimozhi: Hello.

Radia: Kani, one feedback that’s coming back from Congress is that, that you’ve not even declared who your official negotiator is. Five, five people are negotiating at the same time. If your dad also appoints one person who is going to negotiate what everybody has done, then the problem gets solved.

Kanimozhi: Hey Niira, what can I do Niira? I really can’t do anything about it.

Radia: You can’t tell them to appoint the official negotiator?

Kanimozhi: You know OK, we’ll have to say it’s Dayanidhi Maran.

Radia: Well, I don’t think he will. Do you think he will say that?

Kanimozhi: He will…

Radia: Well, then you might as well not have an official negotiator…

Kanimozhi: See that is a problem…

Radia: The meeting is, the meeting is still going on. So, it’s, you know, when it’s over I’ll call you.

Kanimozhi: See, that is the only big problem, no. None of us want to push for it. If he’s going to become anyway.

Radia: Yeah.

Kanimozhi: I mean, I can just completely, you see, I’m perfectly all right but if dad is going to say he is [too]. But then it become(s) such a self-serving thing, no.

Radia: Is he staying back for the swearing-in?

Kanimozhi: No. What happened is, he [Maran] was supposed to leave with dad. Once he knew that I’m taking a later flight, he’s changed his flight to a later one.

Radia: Good God. So, he is also not going for the swearing-in?

Kanimozhi: No, no. He is not going.

Radia: Mm-hmm.

Kanimozhi: And then because I just want to stay back for the [inaudible] and take a later flight, he also wants to.

Radia: My God. You know, he is watching everything you’re doing…

May 22, 2009, 14:46:15

Kanni: Hello.

Nira: Hi. Listen, they’re caught up in a meeting, but they are going to speak to you.

Kanni: Pardon.

Nira: They are going to speak to you, that message has gone to them. What also that I have just mentioned to them is that you’re not, only Raja was supposed to have gone to the swearing-in.

Kanni: Yeah.

Nira: So they’re like little, they’re so sort of [Indiscernible] [0:00:49.0] about the whole thing, they don’t understand what’s going on. So, I told them….

Kanni: No, they just want to come and say that whatever happens, I’m in your side.

Nira: Who wants to say?

Kanni: Whoever, that guy who, Daya is going, no?

Nira: Daya is not talking to Ahmed Patel, Daya is not talking to Ahmed Patel, I don’t know who Daya is talking to.

Kanni: Okay. No, no, Daya is going to the swearing-in, no?

Nira: No, that’s what I’ve heard from Congress that he has given his name, that he is going to the swearing-in.

Kanni: I don’t know, he is supposed to come back with me. So, I mean, it’s just that he’s going out to say that whatever – in spite of whatever my leaders says, I’m [Indiscernible] [0:01:32.4].

Nira: Yeah, but your dad should be told, no?

Kanni: That is what, he will come and give some stupid cock and bull story to him. He will say Ahmed Patel – no, no, he will come and say Ahmed Patel called. He said at least you should come, you’re the only representative, that you’re the face of DMK. If you’re not there, it won’t be good.

Nira: If your dad were to say to him that I only authorized Raja to go, no? If your dad said, dad to tell Raja to tell Maran that I only authorized Raja not you.

Kanni: No, dad won’t, no way [Indiscernible] [0:02:09.5] have to call up dad and tell him, no I can’t.

Nira: I know you’re fed up of it, but this is only a start, no?

Kanni: Yeah, yeah.

Nira: Politics, my dear.

Kanni: You don’t mind doing politics with other people, yes [Indiscernible] [0:02:30.3].

Nira: I know, but it’s okay, but I know you are frustrated with him, so just leave him, just ignore him and you know he’ll soon become irrelevant. But you have to….

Kanni: [Indiscernible] [0:02:38:6] it’s not that. No, no, it is not that, you know. See, I don’t mind [Indiscernible] that somebody is against your own party and leader, that is what….

Nira: Yeah, but then your father has to understand it, he’s not understanding, so you have to tell him that.

Kanni: How do I make him understand, keep telling, he doesn’t understand….

Nira: Who is going to make him understand? Only you can do that. Nobody else, Kanni. He will not listen to anyone else except you. You know that, the only person who is going to listen to because none of the others, everybody else is still scared to go and tell him that. You’re his daughter, so he can listen to you. You have to use your position, Kanni, you have to. If you want to save the party, you’re going to have to use it.

Kanni: I’ll do my best.

Nira: Yeah, you take care, I’ll call you….

Kanni: Anyway, I’ll be leaving to the airport at 4 o’clock….

Nira: Yeah, that’s doesn’t matter, so they’ll call you in Chennai, but they’ll know that they have to speak to you.

Kanni: Then, I’ll be reaching Chennai around 7:30 if possible.

Nira: Then, when they call you, you just tell them, you please come to Chennai if you want to talk, whatever you want to talk come to…

May 22, 2009, 20:04:19

Nira: Hello, it’s not true Kanni. So why should we tell him, there’s no need.

Kanni: No, no, I will just make sure because he is trying to spread the thing that….

Nira: No, no, no. Prime Minister has already clarified that the deal has not been, we’re still in the middle of discussing, there is no point of…

Kanni: They have promised to give us telecom, but it cannot now become [Indiscernible] [0:00:34.7] they’ve already told us they will give us telecom, now it shouldn’t be given to him because he is going around planting the stories that….

Nira: But ignore that, because he was planting it on the channels when you were on the flight.

Kanni: Yes, yes I know.

Nira: Yes, I know that and then I spoke to Raja, I spoke to Chennai also. I got an input as to what had happened. I went back and told the channels that there’s no deal that has been closed, Janardan Dwivedi is the one who had said. Janardan Dwivedi was the one who made the statement that the deal had been closed with the DMK. There is no need for us to travel to Chennai. Then, the channels asked the prime minister.

Kanni: Yes, yes. That I know. No, no. I’m not saying that. I’m just saying be careful, because it shouldn’t, because he’s trying to get somebody from the congress say things against Raja to dad.

Nira: Nobody said anything; the prime minister has not made a statement.

Kanni: Not the prime minister. When they come to meet dad…

Nira: Agreed. But Kanni, the prime minister has just made a statement that I have no problem with Raja and Baalu, they’re my esteemed colleagues. Prime minister has just made that statement.

Kanni: He can make a statement, but whoever is going to come and talk to dad shouldn’t talk otherwise. Because, see, what people say outside and what actually they mean is very different and all of us know that in politics. You can always call somebody your friend and then come and have a discussion and say, see, I don’t want this person. That is for public appearances, we do a lot of things. So I’m just saying make sure that whoever is going to come and talk doesn’t talk against this guy, because I heard from another source that they….
Nira: Well, okay. Yes, I spoke to Raja also.

Kanni: See, Raja is one person who will say everything is not a problem; everything is okay.

Nira: Yes, yes, yes. I don’t think Congress is in any mood to discuss what portfolio should be taken, they’re going to leave it to your father, is what I was told by both the…

Kanni: No, no. I’m saying all that is fine. But they shouldn’t come and say anything, because I’m sure they will come and say something against Baalu.

Nira: Yes, Baalu, they are saying. They’re saying against Baalu.

Kanni: No, but they also want to say, I think, against Raja.

Nira: They’re saying they’re not going to…

Kanni: Even one line against him will definitely take more to this guy. Actually they say that we’re very happy to give it to Raja, because he did a good job and things like that. Then it will be, it will work in his favor. Even if they don’t go back, it is okay, but if it is going to go against him, one word against him [Indiscernible] [0:03:28.3].

Nira: Have you heard this other thing from DMK, which is that they’re saying that your meeting, whatever, whenever that’s going to happen, tomorrow is it?

Kanni: Yes.

Nira: The DMK meeting, zonal one, that they may just suggest that both, all three males, Raja, Baalu, Maran, should be removed and see new names.

Kanni: No, no, no. I don’t think that is happening, no, no. But just make sure of this, one second.

May 23, 2009, 09:59:02

Kanni: Hello.

Nira: Hi, Kanni.

Kanni: Hi, Nira [Phonetic].

Nira: I spoke to them again whether they would speak to the CM and give him some message, but they haven’t taken a call, I think what is being spread right now is that the infrastructure should not be given to Baalu and Raja. When actually what is being said is that it should not be given to Maran and Baalu. So there is also a view that, he hasn’t met Sonia Gandhi, I have confirmed that.

Kanni: Yeah, even I found out.

Nira: He is not met and I believe that he has indicated to somebody that he has met your father separately and had a meeting with him and briefed him on Delhi and your father had told him to quietly have a meeting in Delhi on his own.

Kanni: No, that’s not true. Because when my – he actually asked everybody to leave and he just wanted to have a word alone. My mother, I mean, she didn’t realize that, she just took her glass of buttermilk to my father, so she happened to be there, through the entire conversation, he was trying to give [Inaudible] to him saying that it is important, we should be there, what, it’s okay, I don’t mind. So that is what he said, I mean, he hasn’t said anything alone. So dad hasn’t said anything. Today, dad has been told that nobody who is actually interested in joining the cabinet should be allowed to negotiate.

Nira: Correct, correct. Absolutely, yeah.

Kanni: Dad is quite okay with that.

Nira: Yeah, yeah. So I guess that’s the better way to do it, no?

Kanni: He is just lying and spreading…

Nira: No, he is saying that by the way. Because I spoke to Rajdeep just a few minutes ago. So, I asked Rajdeep, I said where did you get this information from? Then he said, look I’m going to tell you something. He said Sun TV is actually working overtime in spreading news to my, all our correspondents, not only ours, but Times Now and everybody else. They are working overnight to just spread information and he said I recognized it last night, they gave us wrong information when they said that it had been done, the deal was signed, you know? Yeah, and he said I recognized, so I’m very conscious of it, but this whole aspect of infrastructure not going to Raja and Baalu is very dangerous. And I said, look I don’t think you should be, prime minister has already clarified all this. So then again I spoke to my, the Congress and asked them whether there was any statement like this on infrastructure. They said, we’ve given the births, we have not said anything else. Telecom is already infrastructure. So if prime minister has any reservation, then…

Kanni: See, telecom is, like we only asked telecom for Raja.

Nira: Correct, correct.

Kanni: If they have problems, they wouldn’t have given it back to us.

Nira: They said exactly that. They said exactly that, that infrastructure is telecom, we don’t have any problem with it but what he has done is, he has used that very cleverly by saying infrastructure is not, because Raja and Baalu are not welcome. I’m the only one now who fits for telecom, because he doesn’t want to go to labor or chemical fertilizer.

Kanni: He doesn’t want to go because it’s not good for his image.

Nira: That’s right, that’s right. So just to let you know that that’s the way he has used it cleverly and Congress is…

Kanni: You should [Indiscernible]. He is very – see, let us – yo should tell them also, Nira. He is the one who is actually creating half the problem.

Nira: I did that, yeah. This morning, all my messages to everyone went that it’s he is the only one. And I explained the whole Alagiri expect, that they have to understand that he is a mass leader. And in any case, in any party, priority would always go to a mass leader.

Kanni: Exactly.

Nira: Yeah, so he is not a mass leader and therefore he is not a priority, he is trying it.

Kanni: We have other elections coming [Indiscernible] [0:04:06:6]. We do not want to antagonize all his followers.

Nira: Yes, correct.

Kanni: But actually one thing is you can tell them also, even if they are not happy, you can do exactly what Lalu did. You can get a good MOS under him, who will answer [Indiscernible] he has to deal with, he will answer.

Nira: Correct. Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah, yeah. I don’t think they have a problem with him, by the way. They don’t have a problem with Alagiri. Congress has no problem with him.

Kanni: No, no, so that is a problem. But this guy is the one who wants telecom and he is spreading rumors, but I don’t think even the DMK is interested in giving him telecom.

Nira: I don’t think so.

Kanni: Because we’ve got our own channel and then it will go against us also.

Nira: But look, Kanni, you need to [Indiscernible] [0:04:55.1] deal with his last mile later on, but we really have to deal with that whole issue because of his blackmail to the other channels, which is the only reason he has been able to do what he is, confusion he is able to create. But you have a meeting in the afternoon, is it?

Kanni: No, nothing like that. But then whoever is going to come to take over communication, they should come, go. I mean, I think the government should insist on going in a big way about the Dish TV or whatever, or to make sure the entire cable network is open to everybody.

Nira: No, we’re doing that. We are going to work on the policy on, we’re going to set a lobby for it. That the last mile has to be dismissed, we’re very, everyone is fed up, all the channels are fed up. I’ll tell you that. We’re starting that process. We’re not – even we all go together on that issue.

Kanni: Not just in Tamil Nadu, all over the country…

Nira: All over the country. Because you have to be fair, you have to be equitable to everyone.

Kanni: Exactly. I mean, nobody should have this kind of a stranglehold on, anybody for that matter.

Nira: That’s right, that’s right. I mean, what Jayalalitha had done against him was the right thing. She had taken it into the state. That was the right thing. But Kanni, your father hasn’t decided who the MSB [Phonetic] [0:06:08.5] is going to be, right, for negotiations?

Kanni: I think they will decide today.

Nira: They will decide today. This whole thing of wanting extra birth, and how he spread it the last two days is giving you a very, very bad impression, very, very bad impression. Somewhere on the line your father has to come up…

Kanni: I think – today, I think it will get sorted out. [Indiscernible] [0:07:05.6] because I am worried one extra word this way, that way will completely go…

May 24, 2009, 09:27:31

Kanni: Hello.

Nira: Hi, good morning.

Kanni: Sorry for I wake you up.

Nira: No, no [Indiscernible] [0:00:17] yeah, a few minutes back I got up, you know, hi.

Kanni: No, no, I just wanted to know, I mean, what they are planning to give for me?

Nira: Mm-hmm.

Kanni: What are they planning to give for me?

Nira: I told you last night. I called after we spoke and I said that, you know, look at the health option. But give her environment and forest otherwise if the health is not there, independent charge or consider the aviation one. You know, that’s the three I had said, you know, what else there was, there. So, they weren’t sure. [Indiscernible] [0:00:52] pass the message and they will talk with you because they didn’t want to…

Kanni: Even tourism is not worth it.

Nira: Tourism independent charge they will not give you Kanni because Ghulam Nabi Azad has still not given his, he wants something more than what you call it. He has got only parliamentary affairs, you know.

Kanni: Okay.

Nira: They don’t want to give MP more than that.

Kanni: Okay.

Nira: That’s why. So, I did mention tourism because I don’t know because they will keep it up to cabinet post.

Kanni: Okay.

Nira: I didn’t know whether they will [Indiscernible] [0:01:22] because if tourism and culture together.

Kanni: Yeah.

Nira: It’s got both the – we’ll get involved in all the umbrella of temples and, you know, all this such thing [Indiscernible] [0:01:35] if you want to but anyway, I mean like tell them now if you want. But I didn’t tell them…

Kanni: No, no, I’ve given the list of that but anything and…

Nira: Why did you give the list on and what did you tell them?

Kanni: I just gave environment, health and tourism and culture also, they have added. They said they he will check it out.

Nira: Mm-hmm.

Kanni: Maybe I’ll ask for Environment, Environment they won’t give, health they won’t give, you know.

Nira: Health I think, they have already allocated. It is my sense I think they have already allocated.

Kanni: Environment they will give, you know?

Nira: Independent charge? Yeah. You gave a list this morning, yeah.

Kanni: Yeah. I have given a list.

Nira: You didn’t put aviation, Kanni.

Kanni: You know, just an aviation I will take it up. No problem.

Nira: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Because that would – but what about this one the others?

Kanni: Nothing. They said they’ll come back and tell us.

Nira: What they can give, you know.

Kanni: Yes, yes. Let’s see.

Nira: Has the meeting happed this morning?

Kanni: No, no, not yet.

Nira: What time is it starting?

Kanni: I think it’s 10, 10:30.

Nira: Okay, you’ll be there, you know. Just you again, you know, not the others, you know.

Kanni: Yeah, yeah.

Nira: And Alagiri, has he met your dad?

Kanni: No, no, no.

Nira: That’s what you opted, you know.

Kanni: Mm-hmm.

Nira: Okay. Good, good. Because I was wondering whether he would meet him. He would have spoken to him on the phone, you know…

Kanni: No, no, no.

Nira: Mm-hmm. Okay. Well, I hope you…

Kanni: No, no that one isn’t, that isn’t.

Nira: Maran has?

Radia Tapes – Vir Sanghvi, Former Editor Hindustan Times

(Source : http://www.outlookindia.com)

In some of the following transcripts, Niira is spelt as Nira or ‘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…

Radia Tapes – Barkha Dutt, Group Editor NDTV

(Source : http://www.outlookindia.com)

May 22, 2009 09:48:51

Barkha Dutt: Hi Niira

Niira Radia: Hi, did I wake you up?

Barkha Dutt: No, no, no. I’ve been up, yaa, most of the night. The stalemate continues, yaa.

Niira Radia: Yeah. Listen, the thing is that they need to talk to him directly. That is what the problem is.

Barkha Dutt: Apparently now, the message from the other side is, that why did he go? Why did Baalu [T.R. Baalu, former DMK minister] go public? They claim that at this point will they had offered him this formula and this guys said, “no”. This guys never told them they were going to withdraw support. Not withdraw support. But outside support. Apparently, PM was really pissed off ‘ cause they had went public.

Niira Radia: But that’s Baalu’s doing, naa… he was not instructed by Karunanidhi to do that.

Barkha Dutt: Oh, he wasn’t?

Niira Radia: This is not. He was told to come away and tell Congress that.

Barkha Dutt: And he went public

Niira Radia: Well, the media… media, the media was standing outside.

Barkha Dutt: Oh God. So now what? What should I tell them? Tell me what should I tell them?

Niira Radia: I’ll tell you what it is—the problem and I have had a long chat with both his wife and with the daughter, right?

Barkha Dutt: Haan, haan.

Niira Radia: The problem is if the Congress has a problem with Baalu, if they have no problem with anyone. They need and go talk to Karunanidhi. They have very good relationship with Karunanidhi directly.

Barkha Dutt: Correct, haan.

Niira Radia: Because you see, in front of Baalu, in front of Maran, they can’t talk.

Barkha Dutt: Yeah

Niira Radia: So they have to tell him directly, there [are] enough Congress leaders in Tamil Nadu. They need to go in and tell him exactly—the biggest problem is that the following of Azhagiri is saying that you cannot give Maran a cabinet post and keep Azhagiri in the MoS state.

Barkha Dutt: That’s right. But will Karuna drop Baalu?

Niira Radia: He… look, if you tell him that Baalu is the only problem. I would imagine, he will drop him.

Barkha Dutt: But you see the problem right now is also over the choice of portfolios, naa…

Niira Radia: No. They’ve not said anything. The portfolios have not even got discussed.

Barkha Dutt: Congress claims, for whatever it’s worth, that the DMK wanted surface transport, power, IT, telecom, railways and health.

Niira Radia: Wo tho pehle se list gaya tha

Barkha Dutt: Haa, abhi Congress has offered IT, telecom, chemical, fertilizer and labour

Niira Radia: Yes

Barkha Dutt: So this is where it’ll stand off. Will DMK accept all (or both)?

Niira Radia: Maybe no, because they have to drop Maran if you want them to be accept… Maran is wishing coal and mine.

Barkha Dutt: Who’s wishing?

Niira Radia: Now Maran is saying, you give me coal and more mine. If he.. my honest advice to… is that you need to tell them… tell him directly that we are happy because Kani (M.K.Kanimozhi, Karundanidhi’s daughter) got no issue about being even as independent but Azhagiri is now telling her that you cannot take an independent charge if Maran remains cabinet minister. And congress is sending messages through media and through various sources saying that… Maran is going around telling everyone that he is the only acceptable person.

Barkha Dutt: Ya, ya, ya. That I know.

Niira Radia: But that’s not correct na?

Barkha Dutt: No, I know and we’ve (NDTV) have taken that off… We’ve have taken that off.

Niira Radia: But also… Congress needs to tell Karunanidhi that we have not said anything about Maran

Barkha Dutt: OK. let me talk to them again

Niira Radia: Yeah? The choice of candidate we will leave to you. We have some reservation about Baalu. And let them tell the reservation. And we have not said anything about Maran. We are not asking…

May 22, 2009 10:47:33

Barkha Dutt: I think they have told Maran.

Niira Radia: Yeah, now what they need to do is, they need to speak to Kani so she can set up the discussion with her father, because even the Prime Minister’s discussion was … she was the one who’s translating, and it was a very brief discussion for two minutes.

Barkha Dutt: Okay.

Niira Radia: That we’ll try and work it out, and the let’s not you know take it any hasty easy decision. That’s the type of conversation that happened.

Barkha Dutt: No, I’ll set it up as soon as they get out of RCR.

Niira Radia: What she saying is that, you know, that someone senior like Ghulam [Nabi Azad, senior Congress leader]—because he is the one who is authorised to speak. ….

Barkha Dutt: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Niira Radia: Right? Was to speak to her then she can tell her father that I have got this message from the Congress.

Barkha Dutt: Theek hai, not a problem. That’s not a problem, I’ll talk to Azad—I’ll talk to Azad right after I get out of RCR [Race Course Road, presumably, the PM’s residence].

Niira Radia: Yeah, and then she said when father lands, I can speak to him.

Barkha Dutt: Okay.

Niira Radia: And the problem is that the congress is not understanding that nobody is coming and telling my father anything so they are talking…

May 22, 2009 15:31:29

Barkha Dutt: Nirra?

Niira Radia: Hi

Barkha Dutt: Now, their saying, “We’ll take whoever!”

Niira Radia: Whoever matlab? It doesn’t matter Maran or whoever? Baalu or Raja or anything na?

Barkha Dutt: Ha, now their saying that

Niira Radia: But tell me one thing..

Barkha Dutt: I’ve had a long chat and they promised me that Azad will speak to him

Niira Radia: Who? Ghulam?

Barkha Dutt: Ghulam. Yeah.

Niira Radia: You know, the problem is she’s catching a flight at five, haan? Going back. Dayanidhi Maran is attending the swearing in when only Raja has been authorised to attend, so he’s gone and told his leader that Ahmed Patel has called me especially to attend the swearing in.

Barkha Dutt: Ahmed says this is rubbish…

Niira Radia: But I am telling you but this. Karunanidhi’s very confused.

Barkha Dutt: No, but why can’t Kani stay also and attend it?

Niira Radia: She doesn’t want to attend no because her father told her to come back. She has to follow what she’s father says, no?

Barkha Dutt: Let me call Ghulam then. Let me call him.

Niira Radia: Tell him she’s leaving at five. She’s catching a flight at five.
May 22, 2009 18:09:16

Barkha Dutt: Ha, not true!

Niira Radia: I don’t know where she’s (Navika Kumar from Timesnow) getting this from?

Barkha Dutt: No, but the thing is it fits with the Congress formula. So it might be a…

Niira Radia: Congress is already…

Barkha Dutt: No, you see Congress’s only condition is … DMK should not get surface transport, beyond individuals. Right?

Niira Radia: Correct, correct, and they are not individuals. Let me tell you one thing’s for sure. 3 plus 4 was yesterday; because of Maran, they wanted to make it 4 plus 3.

Barkha Dutt: Okay!

Niira Radia: So, now it is back to… 3 plus 4 was already what was on the table!

Barkha Dutt: No, so why does this formula not sound right then?

Niira Radia: Because of Azhagiri naa! He’s not got cabinet.

Barkha Dutt: Oh, Azhagiri got what, according to these things?

Niira Radia: You see, according to her, he’s got Health, but he can’t be cabinet. Either Maran is not cabinet, either Raja is not cabinet or Baalu’s not.

Barkha Dutt: Azhagiri’s got Health and that’s a big compromise by Congress because they said we won’t give them Health. So that’s their face saver. No, but Azhagiri, Health can be cabinet?

Niira Radia: Agreed, but then Raja is MoS.

Barkha Dutt: Raja is MoS!

Niira Radia: Then is Baalu MoS? Nahin ho sakta.

Barkha Dutt: Nahin, nahin, nahin, if Baalu gets Heavy Industries and … Baalu gets chemicals and fertilizer; Azhagiri gets this thing – Health.

Niira Radia: Maran gets Telecom and IT.

Barkha Dutt: Maran gets Telecom and IT. Raja gets demoted.

Niira Radia: Who gets…?

Barkha Dutt: Raja? Nahin hoga! [Won’t happen] haha

Niira Radia: I am telling you nahin hai (laughing). Trust me, nahin hai. Trust me, nahi hai [It’s not]

Barkha Dutt: Achcha, theek hai.

Niira Radia: I’ll tell you what is… paanch minute pehle… main tumko ek baat batati hu. Kya hogaya hai. Ek baat hogayii. Ye teeno Baalu, Raja aur Maran ko hatake, teen naye faces le a ayenge [Five minutes back… let me tell you what has happened. One thing has happened. They will remove Baalu, Raja and Maran and get three new faces]

Barkha Dutt: So this is not true basically, na?

Niira Radia: I don’t know where they are getting it from? I’ve been telling Navika Kumar that you’ve gone hammer and tong. And Maran doesn’t even want IT by the way. Maran wants coal and mine.

Barkha Dutt: I heard that Maran coal and mine…

May 22, 2009 19:23:57

[Lots of blank in the beginning]

Niira Radia:  Nahi hai, Barkha. Maine abhi phirse baat ki hai [I again had a talk].

Barkha Dutt: Apparently this story is not coming from Dwivedi[?] but from Chennai… Some section of the DMK

Niira Radia:  No, it’s coming from.. hmmm

Barkha Dutt: You see what happened was everybody I know in the congress was at the swearing in. So I haven’t been able to speak to the top guys. Now I just finished and I am going to make my set of calls.

Niira Radia:  Kani has just landed in Chennai. Just now. I just spoke…

Barkha Dutt: Where is Daya? Where is Maran?

Niira Radia:  Daya didn’t turn up for the swearing in because he was called back, because he went and told Karunanidhi that I have been asked by Ahmed Patel to come for the swearing in. But then the Leader said then you join the Congress.

Barkha Dutt: (laughs) So now?

Niira Radia:  So Raja was the only one who’s authorised to attend which he’s done and Raja’s catching the 8:40 flight…

Barkha Dutt: Okay

Niira Radia:  Karunanidhi from the time he’s landed has been sleeping. Has been resting. He’s got a back issue if you know. And the meeting is going to take place tomorrow.

Barkha Dutt: Ok

2G Scam – What will happen in the end?

2G Scam has received unprecedented media coverage in the last few weeks. The sheer magnitude of the scam (Rs. 1.76 Lakh Crores) is enough to baffle and shock the public in general. In its report, The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has meticulously documented how former telecom minister A Raja circumvented norms at every level and obdurately avoided scrutiny in awarding 2G licences in January 2008 at 2001 rates, which resulted in a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer.

The existence of the 2G Scam was known to all concerned (media, opposition and the public) since last two years but what has rekindle the recent flame was CAG’s Report dated 20th Nov 2010 and two writ petition filed in the Supreme Court – (a) by the “Centre for PIL” seeking action on the basis of the draft audit report submitted by CAG and (b) a special leave petition filed by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy for a direction to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to decide on his application seeking sanction for prosecution of Mr. Raja, the then Telecom Minister.

Sensing a great opportunity to embarrass the government, a united opposition has used the winter session of the Parliament to demand a JPC (Joint Parliament Committee) Probe into the scam. The UPA Government and the ruling Congress Party immediately dismissed this demand which led to the opposition stalling the proceedings in both the houses of the parliament for the entire winter session.

Since then, Raja has been asked to step down and has been replaced by Kapil Sibbal, whose top priority seems to be the weather the current storm using his legal skills. The Supreme Court has directed the CBI to conduct its probe under the direction of the SC and Swami has threatened to move the SC for initiating criminal proceedings against Raja. CBI has raided Raja’s house and has grilled him for many hours for the last two days.

Subramanian Swamy, in various press interviews, has been repeated making tongue in cheek comments about Raja not being the only beneficiary of the scam and in some interviews has even gone as far as to suggest that Raja has only got 10% while 30% has gone to DMK Chief Karunanidhi and 60% has gone to Sonia Gandhi through her two sisters in Italy. Surprisingly, no other opposition leader has made any allegations on Karunanidhi or Sonia Gandhi. The reason could be that Swamy’s so far has not produced any evidence to substantiate his charges (although he claims to be in possession of some evidence) and opposition doesn’t want to level unsubstantiated charges, not at least for the time being.

The entire battle between the ruling Congress Party and the united Opposition has converged into one single issue – to have or not to have a JPC to probe the 2G Scam.

Why does the opposition want a JPC? Clearly to embarrass the government and the Congress Party and that’s the reason the Congress doesn’t want to accept the demand. Another hidden agenda for the Opposition is to use the JPC to widen the scope of the probe to target the other beneficiaries and try to drag the Congress and more specifically its leader Sonia Gandhi into this scam. If this is indeed the intention of the opposition, there is no way the Congress will oblige them. For the opposition, even a denial by Congress suits them fine as they can claim that the government and the Congress is running away from the probe which shows they have something to hide.

Even without Swamy’s claim, it is not too difficult to imagine that Raja can not be the sole beneficiary of this scam. In DMK, nothing moves without the permission of its chief, Karunanidhi, and therefore the DMK Chief being the major beneficiary is almost a foregone conclusion. The CAG reports clearly shows that during the 2G spectrum allotment process, Raja ignored the objections raised by the PMO, the Finance Ministry and the Law Ministry and still managed to have his way. In fact, in his affidavit, Raja has even claimed that he had kept the PM informed at every stage of the allotment process. It is not too difficult to verify Raja’s claim and even without it, it is amply clear that the government and hence the ruling Congress Party was fully aware of the possible irregularities in the process of spectrum allotment. This only means one thing – the Congress Party was not just aware of but fully involved in the 2G Scam. No political party which controls the government will let a junior partner make Rs. 1.76 Lack Crore without demanding and receiving the Lion’s Share. And Congress is nothing but its leader Sonia Gandhi. The division ratio of 10:30:60 between Raja, Karunanidhi and Sonia Gandhi, as alleged by Swamy, does appear to be reasonable, going by increasing order of importance and control.

The question now is, JPC or no JPC – whether the guilty ever get framed and punished? The outcome depends solely on the Supreme Court and how it controls investigations by the CBI. Going by the history of all scams, no politician has so far been framed and punished. Supreme Court may be a big and powerful institution but after all it is run by a few individuals who may be vulnerable to Sam-Dam-Dand-Bhed of politics. When there is huge money involved, anything is possible not just in India but even in the biggest democracy in the world – the USA. Kennedy was assassinated because he was coming in the way of the powerful Arms Lobby and had to pay the price.

Rs. 1.76 Lakh Cores is more than enough to take care of anything and anyone who comes in the way. As they say – money is not God but is certainly the next powerful thing.