CBI court finds 'no criminality' in Radia tapes which exposed the 2G scam more than a decade ago

About 8,000 taped conversations between Niira Radia and prominent politicians, businessmen as well as journalists, were probed by the CBI.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Wednesday, September 21, 2022, 05:53 PM IST
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Nira Radia |

More than a decade back, leaked tapes of a corporate lobbyist’s conversations with former Telecom Minister A Raja and other politicians as well as businessmen exposed the 2G spectrum allocation scam. The lobbyist was Kenya-born Niira Radia, and the storm her tapes had stirred up, is cited as a major reason behind the UPA regime’s decline ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Over a decade and several scams later, the CBI court has given a clean chit to Niira Radia since it didn’t find any criminality in her 8,000 taped conversations.

The 14 preliminary enquiries that the CBI had initiated in the matter, have been closed without any case being made. Over the course of the investigation, even industrialist Ratan Tata stepped in with a petition to probe the leak, which had made private conversations public. The phone calls between Radia and key figures were recorded by the Income Tax Department as part of an inquiry more than 10 years back.

Gaining clout through clients

Educated in London, Radia moved to India in the 90s and became the representative for Singapore Airlines in the country, and even tried to launch an airline Crown Air, which didn’t fly. She then set up PR firm Vaishnavi Communications, and went on to bag all 90 accounts of Tata Group, before adding Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries to its clientele. She allegedly used the power of her clients as leverage for lobbying and in 2009 started fixing deals in the telecom ministry.

Links to power

Apart from Raja, the tapes included Radia’s conversations with prominent journalists such as Barkha Dutt, Vir Sanghvi and Navika Kumar among others. She had developed connections transcending party lines, as BJP leader Ananth Kumar was also allegedly linked to her. She was under surveillance after a complaint to the Finance Minister in 2007, since Radia had built a Rs 300 crore empire in less than a decade.

The clean chit to Radia comes after acquittal of major names such as Raja, Kanimozhi and others like Vinod Goenka and Shahid Balwa, in the 2G scam case over the years.

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