Who is Niira Radia?
Corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, in middle of the 2G spectrum scam, is owner of Vaishnavi Corporate Communications and three other PR firms.delhi Updated: Dec 15, 2010 10:52 IST
Corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, in middle of the 2G spectrum scam, is owner of Vaishnavi Corporate Communications and three other PR firms.
Kenya-born and London-educated Radia, said to be in her fifties, moved to London from Kenya in the 1970s and schooled at the elite school Haberdashers' Aske's in northern London.
She graduated from the University of Warwick and got married to UK businessman Janak Radia, a Gujarati. The marriage did not click and the divorced Radia moved to India in mid-nineties.
She started off as Sahara liaison officer and soon became India representative of Singapore Airlines, KLM, UK Air. It is during this time she forged her powerful contacts in the civil aviation ministry, the government and the media.
In 2001, she set up Vaishnavi Communications, followed by Noesis, Victom and Neucom Consulting.
Radia's big-ticket break came when she bagged all 90 Tata group accounts in 2001.
Another crowing moment was when Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Limited joined her clients' list in 2008.
She was allegedly involved in lobbying for A Raja to get him the telecom portfolio.
Subsequently the 2G allotment during Raja's tenure resulted in the alleged swindling of $39 billion, in what is supposedly the biggest financial and economic crime in India till date.
After the home ministry authorised the Income Tax department, officials tapped Radia's phone lines for 300 days in 2008-2009, as part of their investigations into possible money laundering, restricted financial practices and tax evasion.
The tapes were first made public by the Open and Outlook magazines.
These phone recordings led to the unveiling of the 2G spectrum controversy of a record $40 billion involving former telecommunications minister A Raja and other politicians, corporates and industrialists, government officials, middlemen and media persons, which subsequently led to his resignation from his post.