Corporate lobbyist Niira Radia has told CBI investigators she introduced Unitech and Tata Realty and Infrastructure Ltd (TRIL), a Tata Group company, to each other — that led to TRIL paying an advance of around Rs 1,700 crore to Unitech in a land deal.
Radia said, “I used to advise Tata Tele Services Ltd and Unitech. During some conversation with Unitech, I mentioned that Tata Realty was looking for land in the national capital region for development, when (sic) Unitech offered as they had land in NCR. Then I introduced them to each other and the aforesaid land deal happened,”
But the deal fell through due to bad state of the real estate market, Radia claimed.
She also told investigators her team of PR professionals handled issues related to Uninor — the joint venture between Unitech and telecom MNC Telenor — only when Ramesh Chandra (chairman, Unitech) would “informally” seek her advice on it. In a statement issued last year, Radia had claimed her only client in the telecom sector was Tata Teleservices.
In another conversation, CEO of Unitech Wireless Rohit Chandra sought help from Radia over pending issues with DoT official PK Mittal and RK Chandolia. Radia told Chandra she will have a word with them in this regard. She told investigators, “I offered to help them as I have a long relationship with Unitech.”
She also explained a conversation with Chandolia saying he asked her to tell Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra to speak to the press and correct the perception on the valuation of the joint venture with Telenor. Radia told Chandolia she would ask Chandra to speak to him.
Radia also told investigators that former telecom minister A Raja was not interested in the telecom ministry after the 2009 general elections.
Radia also told investigators Raja was trying his best to break Cellular Operators Association of India cartel. “Hence Sunil Mittal of Bharti Airtel was big sideline(sic),” she said. A spokesperson of Radia’s company Vaishnavi said on Thursday the right context of conversation could be established if the statement is looked at in totality.