Monday, November 29, 2010

The reveal-all tapes

The infamous Radia tapes relate to two periods – May 20 to 24, 2009, after the election results when there was a communication-breakdown between the DMK and the Congress on the allocation of ministries.
In these, Radia is in conversation apparently with DMK's A Raja, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi; foster son-in-law of former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Ranjan Bhattacharya; journalists Vir Sanghvi, Barkha Dutt and Shankar Aiyyar, then with the India Today group, among many other influential and powerful people in deciding who should get the telecom portfolio.
The second set of conversations centre around the Bombay High Court judgement of June 15, 2009 relating to how the Ambani brothers should share the supply of natural gas from the Krishna-Godavari basin. The journalists who feature in these recordings include Vir Sanghvi, Prabhu Chawla and G Ganapathy Subramanian and M K Venu (then) of the Economic Times. Excerpts from the transcripts:
Niira: Hello?
Raja: Raja here
Niira: Hi! I got a message from Barkha Dutt just now
Raja: What does she say?
Niira: 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.
Raja:Somebody should give a message that we are having serious problems about Baalu
Niira:From Congress, right?Raja:YesNiira: I’ll tell her. She is talking to Ahmed Patel.***
Raja: Tell me, Niira
Niira: Somebody has to go talk to Azhagiri, which you have to do.
Raja: I know... who planted in the minds of the Congress that Azhagiri doesn’t know English…
Niira: Not that. That he (Dayanidhi Maran) and Stalin will be the only ones left to run the party because the old man is senile and he is not going to be around.
Raja: Hmm…
Niira: And that Azhagiri is criminal… he has not even studied more than 5th standard.
Raja: I shared with Azhagiri…he went to speak with Leader (Karunanidhi).***
Niira: Hi!
Raja: Tell me, Niira, anything?
Niira: Leader is generally saying that you should be there, because of the, you know, the Dalit dispensation, Dravidian party...
Raja: My case is clear?
Niira: Your case was cleared last night. But what is happening with Daya?
Raja: Rest of the thing is… Textiles or Fertilisers
Niira: But Azhagiri or Daya? Only one, no?
Raja: Two. Baalu will be the problem.
Niira: I think that it will be difficult for the Leader to justify three family members.
Raja: That is it, ...(chuckles)
Niira: And Azhagiri… he knows what Maran has been saying about him?
Raja: …he knows, only thing is Maran will start a campaign against me…He may tell the press... this and that…
Niira: No, no…we are handling…don’t worry...I spoke to Sunil Mittal…
Raja: Tell Sunil Mittal, you have to work along with Raja for another five years.
Niira: I told him that. But you also have to distance yourself from Anil. You must be neutral.
Vir Sanghvi-Radia (Here in some places Niira’s name has been referred to as Mira)
Sanghvi: Hi Mira.
Mira: Hi Vir. Where are you Delhi or…
Sanghvi: I’m in Jaipur, coming back...
Mira: I’ve been talking to my Tamil Nadu friends. I don’t know whether you are in the position to get through to anyone at Congress.
Sanghvi: I was supposed to meet Sonia today but I’ve been stuck here. So, now it’s tomorrow. I’ve been meeting with Rahul but tell me?
Mira: They are not understanding that they are communicating with the wrong guy... the father has not nominated Maran to negotiate.
Sanghvi: So, who should they talk to?
Mira: They need to talk directly to Karunanidhi, they need to talk to Kani.
Sanghvi: Sonia spoke to him yesterday.
Mira: No, she didn’t. Only Prime Minister spoke, even that Kani was translating for him. They need to get Ghulam Nabi Azad to speak to Kanimozhi.
Sanghvi: Okay. I won’t get to Sonia in the short term, let me try and get through to Ahmed.
Mira: Yeah, they should say they don’t want Maran.
Sanghvi: Done. Let me just try and get through and I’ll let you know. ***
Nira: Hi.
Sanghvi: Hi, can you talk?
Nira: Yeah, Okay.
Sanghvi: You know, Maran did not meet Sonia..., he is been there, they say we’re not treating him as official spokesperson at all. He is calling up Ghulam Nabi Azad every half an hour and making new demands.
Nira: Mm-hmm.
Sanghvi: As far as we’re concerned there is two wives, one brother, one sister, one nephew, it’s all very complicated for us.
Nira: Mm-hmm.
Sanghvi: As far as they are concerned they’ve asked for five crucial ministry, it’s an idiotic demand. We’ve made them a perfectly reasonable demand. Now, it is for Karunanidhi to get back to us, Kani can come, anyone can come... the lines and doors are open.
Nira: Mm-hmm.
Sanghvi: Yeah. just let me know and I’ll take it further.
Nira: Great. And…
Sanghvi: And 1:30 tomorrow…
Nira: …we meet 1:30, yeah.***Mira: Sorry to disturb you.
Sanghvi: Hi, no problem.
Mira: They had a meeting. MK Narayanan had come.
Sanghvi: Okay.
Mira: But he is still under a lot of pressure to take Maran…
Sanghvi: Where is this coming from, this pressure?
Mira: It’s coming from Stalin and his sister Selvi. I believe Maran has given 600 crores to Dayalu, Stalin’s mother.
Sanghvi: It’s hard to argue with that kind of pressure?
Mira: But if they stick to three and give independent charge, then Kani gets her independent and then Alagiri, Balu and Raja come in?
Sanghvi: That is not so bad, you know.
Mira: Yeah, so I think…
Sanghvi: …unless Maran is one of the cabinet.
Mira: Yeah. But I don’t think he can give it to three family members.
Sanghvi: That’s right.
Mira: He would prefer that she gets independent charge Environment, Forestor something like that...
Sanghvi: What about Civil Aviation? It gives her the profile she would need, you know.
Mira: …it gives her the foothold for the political side.
Sanghvi: We don’t have anyone there. Let me talk.
Mira: That’s great, you know.***Nira:
Vir.Sanghvi: Hi. Tell me.
Nira: They had given a list for four people to Narayanan. Today they gave three…But Congress said no independent charge.S
Sanghvi: Independent charge for anyone or for Kani
Nira: For Kani…
Sanghvi: Okay. Let me find out.
Radia: Hi, did I wake you up?
Barkha: No, I’ve been up most of the night.The stalemate continues, yaa.
Radia: Listen, the thing is that they need to talk to him directly.
Barkha: Haan, apparently PM’s really pissed off that they went public.
Radia: But that’s Baalu’s doing, he was instructed by Karunanidhi to tell Congress.
Barkha: And he went public
Radia: Well, the media…was outside.
Barkha: Oh God. So now what? Tell me what should I tell them?
Radia: If Congress has a problem with Baalu, they need to talk to Karunanidhi.
Barkha: That’s right. But will Karuna drop Baalu?
Radia: If you tell him that Baalu is the only problem, I would imagine he will drop him. ***
Barkha: Haan, Niira?
Radia: Barkha, what I’m told is that the Congress relayed that the infrastructure portfolio should not be given to Maran or Baalu.
Barkha: That’s because they want to keep it for themselves.
Radia: No, they didn’t want any infrastructure, that’s what PM said. The message was not relayed to Karunanidhi?
Barkha: Oh I see!
Radia: Now what they need to do is speak to Kani so she can set up the discussion with her father...
Barkha: I’ll set it up as soon as they get out of RCR (Race Course Road, presumably, the PM’s residence).***
Barkha: I’ve had a long chat, and they promised me that Azad will speak to her.
Radia: Who? Ghulam?
Barkha: Ghulam. Yeah.
Radia: The problem is she’s catching a flight at five. Dayanidhi Maran is attending the swearing, he’s told his leader that Ahmed Patel specially called him.
Barkha: Ahmed says this is rubbish…***
Barkha: You see, what happened was everybody I know in the Congress was at the swearing in, so I haven’t been able to speak with the top guys, I am going to make my set of calls.
Radia: Kani just landed in Chennai. Barkha: Where is Daya?
Radia: Daya was called back because he told Karunanidhi Ahmed Patel invited him for swearing in. The leader said then you join Congress.
Barkha: (laughs) So now?
Kanimozhi Kani: Hello.
Nira: Kani, apparently they relayed to your father yesterday…that they do not want to give infrastructure portfolio to Balu or Maran.
They told him or Prime Minister spoke to him.
Kani: No. PM did not. I was the one who was talking with him. I was on the phone and he – PM said a few words, that’s all. And see, Prime Minister can’t talk on phone to dad and convey, ..PM is very soft spoken and dad can’t hear that clearly.
Nira: Hmm.
Kani: Daya is going to the swearing-in?
Nira: That’s what I’ve heard from Congress
Kani: He will give some cock and bull story that Ahmed said you’re the face of DMK.
Nira: But your father has to understand.
Kani: How do I make him understand…
Nira: You’re his daughter, you have to use your position if you want to save the party.***
Kani: Sorry for waking you up. I wanted to know what they are planning to give me?
Nira: Environment and forest if health is not there, independent charge or aviation. That’s the three I had said...
Kani: Just aviation I will take. No problem.(Transcripts of the taped conversations are from various published sources on the web)
"In addition to the refusal to acknowledge and introspect, the other disturbing aspect of this entire scandal has been the silent burial of several troubling issues. Revelations that Dayanidhi Maran paid Rs 600 crores to Karunanidhi's first wife, Praful Patel sacrificing Air India to favor Naresh Goyal's Jet airways and Vijay Mallaya's Kingfisher, his bringing in his “henchman” Arvind Jadhav to safeguard the Boeing deal, Mukesh Ambani's proxies getting representation in Haldia petrochemicals in view of his interest in taking over the company, Prabhu Chawla's suggestion that Supreme Court judgments can be fixed, Praful Patel's alleged accumulation of wealth to the tune of at least 10,000 crores, Rcom fudging its subscriber base, Radia planting stories with UBS and Kotak Mahindra's analysts on Rcom's tottering finances, media houses letting ADAG leverage its media spend to shut out bad press, Radia having access to confidential government documents etc"

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