Corporate lobbyist Niira Radia in a telephonic conversation with former telecom minister A Raja had asked him to distance himself from Anil Ambani, as his close ties with Ambani did not go well with Bharti chairman Sunil Mittal. The conversation took place during the formation of cabinet in 2009.
Raja told Radia to convey his message to Mittal stating, “Tell it to Sunil Mittal that you have to work along with Raja for another five years, don't mess with him….”
Radia replied, “I told him that but then you also have to distance yourself from Anil na….”
The CBI is examining the Radia telephonic conversation as part of its ongoing 2G probe. The agency recently confronted Radia regarding her conversation with Raja and sought clarification. The CBI has submitted these conversations to the special court conducting the 2G scam trial, as an evidence to be attached with its chargesheets in the scam.
Radia, clarifying her conversation with Raja, told the CBI that they were discussing Raja's likely induction into the cabinet. “I also referred my conversation with Sunil Mittal of Bharti Airtel who conveyed that Anil Ambani was lobbying so that Raja should be given the portfolio,” Radia said in her statement.
She further told the investigating agency that Raja had strongly reacted stating: “What nonsense was he (Mittal) spreading... in DMK, beyond Kalaignar nobody can take such decisions in the party.”
Moreover, in a reference to Ratan Tata, she said he was not interested as to who would become a minister. “I was telling Raja that he (Tata) has really alienated himself from other operators,” Radia added to her statement.
Meanwhile, Radia's company Vaishnavi Corporate Communication refused to comment on her telephonic conversation with Raja and her statement to CBI. Similarly, ADAG spokesperson also said: “No comments”.