by Nisha Vasudevan with Zinnia Ambapardiwala, June 2011
It began with a call to crowdsource. Following this call, Reading Radia was set up, inviting volunteers to help transcribe the Radia tapes. Egged on by this collective initiative, pad.ma decided to archive all the available audiotapes, which were sourced from the Outlook website. Those with transcripts were carefully proofed at pad.ma. Untranscribed tapes were then meticulously transcribed and proofed. Each tape was then transcoded to create black subtitled videos.
From this intensive contact with the tapes rose an idea - to organise our thoughts and interpretations in such a way that it allows for various layers and several ways to navigate the tapes. The result is this analytical essay and the accompanying diagram.
Niira Radia takes calls while in transit, immediately after a workout, panting, in between meetings, sometimes sick, sniffling, when in Mumbai, when in Delhi, giving directions to the driver, not fully awake, just about to make coffee; no-nonsense from dawn to dusk while conversing with over 75 people regularly. She believes in astrology and would never wear the kind of sarees she wears at weddings to Vaishnodevi. She is looking for an excuse to try out her Cavalli gown. She is reverent when talking to Ratan Tata but ruthless with her employees and rookie journalists. She gossips and flirts but gets the job done. Her caller-tune is "Pal pal pal pal..." from the Bollywood film Lagey Raho Munna Bhai. She desperately needs a holiday. She owns a Jaguar. Her computer skills sound like they could use some polishing, perhaps a crash course from Suhel Seth's Google would help? Jehangir Pocha calls her "meow" but I think she might be a dog person.
Her voice is hard to forget and between you and me, you find that she's just a tad predictable if you listen to enough of her conversations. From threatening to teasing to just plain tired, her tone of voice changes depending on the time of day and who she's talking to. After a long-lasting tryst with the tapes and as a result, with the woman behind them, some things become just oh-so-Niira.
Revealing as they are, the tapes make for vicarious listening and yet we're somehow never shocked by the extent of the grease and behind the scenes intrigue. We aren't shocked that Vir is "meeting Sonia" in the evening or that Tarun Das has "orphaned" his company; that Raja has a "crush" on Kani or that Anil Ambani has "skeletons in his closet". It's possible. Hota hai. The tapes have only validated the existence of a grimy nexus, but this doesn't mean they don't deserve to be looked at closely. Mainstream media would have buried the issue if not for enraged social media twittering and articles by alternate media portals. However, instances of exhaustive information and scrutiny have been few and far between.
What this archive aims to do is just that - to bring all the tapes together and build a detailed, analytical set of metadata around it. A reader can navigate the tapes in the following ways:
- Read through the essay and follow the links.
- Explore the interactive diagram. Mouse over or click on nodes.
- Access conversations with individuals through the Cast of Characters at the bottom of the essay.
- 'The Radia Tap(e)s' list on pad.ma - we welcome multiple layers of annotation.
Being available only on the internet may limit awareness (of the archive) to only a certain slice of society. On the other hand, availability on the internet allows for prolonged observation / analyses.a∙gen∙da
While Pad.ma treats the tapes as raw data, it is important that they are not taken completely at face value. Everyone has a list, plan, outline, or the like, of things to be done, matters to be acted or voted upon, etc - even the people who leaked, and who knows, probably even tweaked the tapes.
Many of the tapes end abruptly or have large audio gaps mid-conversation. Some sections are completely inaudible. There are 181 (leaked) tapes in all, which are just a part of a much larger number of tapped conversations. At first, the phone taps found themselves in the public domain through Open and Outlook magazines; Outlook put up 175 tapes on its website. This was followed by "800 new tapes", but only only 36 of the new set were actually available on the website. These missing links might say more to us than the tapes themselves. Who knows how many other journalists, industrialists or power-brokers could've been involved? The tapes bring a great deal to light but owing to the seemingly selective leak, and broken conversations, the big picture still evades us. However, Pad.ma provides a space to revisit, and look deeper, alongside opportunities for interpretation, which can in turn be put back in the public domain.
-noun, formally a plural of agendum, but usually used as a singular with plural -das or -da.
a list, plan, outline, or the like, of things to be done, matters to be acted or voted upon, etc.
also, everyone has one.
One of the central issues regarding the wiretapping controversy is the formation of the Cabinet. Citing from Wikipedia, 'Nira Radia runs a public relations firm named Vaishnavi Corporate Communications, and also operates through subsidiaries such as Neucom, Noesis Strategic Consulting Services and Vitcom Consulting, whose clients, among others, include Ratan Tata's Tata Group, Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries and Prannoy Roy's NDTV.' Tata and Reliance are amongst the biggest Telecom companies in India, hence, it is not illogical to infer that she allegedly pushed for A. Raja of the DMK to become Telecommunications Minister. Inside the archive lie the secret manoeuvres and connections that came together to form the cabinet.
In May 2009, the nexus formed between the Congress, the DMK, Niira Radia and prominent journalists Vir Sanghvi and Barkha Dutt began to co-ordinate. The chain of information we understand from the tapes consists of "feedback on informal basis" and works like this:
DMK ← → Radia ← → Barkha / Vir ← → Congress
The Congress and DMK have an alliance in Tamil Nadu. Congress bigwigs like Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sonia Gandhi and even Manmohan Singh were all a part of the negotiations with the DMK. The latter sent a list to the Congress requesting the following portfolios: surface transport, power, IT, telecom, railways and health. Congress in return offered IT, telecom, chemical, fertilizer and labour. Eventually, it all came down to these 5 portfolios, and a request for one independent charge. The DMK's candidates included Dayanidhi Maran, Kanimozhi, Azhagiri, TR Baalu, and A Raja. Over the course of the conversations, it became clear that TR Baalu would be dropped, as would Maran.
It seems that Radia's covert agenda is that Maran be ousted from his position as Telecom minister and replaced by Raja. With Dayanidhi Maran out of the way, it becomes easier to seat A. Raja on the telecommunications throne. Both parties felt that Maran was not fit to handle the Infrastructure portfolio. It's important to note also that Tata's relationship with the Maran brothers had soured by this time. In a conversation with Niira, Ratan Tata says, "...I guess the only concern I have is that I understand that Maran is going hammer and tongs for Raja. And I hope Raja doesn't trip or slip or..." and Niira assures him that Maran has been made to look like a fool and if anything did happen, Kanimozhi and not Maran would be in power.
The tapes reveal a horde of reasons why Maran was being dropped by the DMK, and why he was not popular with the Congress. For a long time, Maran was behaving as the unofficial interlocutor between both parties. Ahmed Patel and the Congress relayed that they were irked by his behaviour, which included calls every half hour and several demands. The DMK, including Kanimozhi, were growing increasingly wary of him because he began to push propaganda in favour of himself by putting down his fellow party members. In one tape, Kani expresses her displeasure to Radia regarding Maran's attendance at the swearing in. She says he has gone there without Karunanidhi's knowledge, "going against party and leader".
Another reason for Maran losing support within his party was Azhagiri, who Niira describes as a "mass leader". Naturally, a party would give preference to a popular leader as candidate. If Maran was to get a cabinet berth while Azhagiri was left as minister of state, it would cause a "hiccup". Therefore, Azhagiri would like Baalu and Maran dropped, which he transmits to his father Karunanidhi . The tapes also reveal that Maran didn't respond to Azhagiri's request when the latter asked him to accept MoS (Minister of State) instead.
Niira is concerned that since there is no official messenger, Maran can use his position to push his own agendas. Therefore, Niira insists that Kanimozhi and Ghulam Nabi Azad speak to each other directly, and pressures Kani to influence her father, Karunanidhi. It is at this point that she asks Barkha Dutt and Vir Sanghvi to speak to the Congress about this - both say they will "talk to him", and information continues to travel back and forth in this manner. Vir goes as far as using the term "we" while delivering news from the Congress, placing himself cosily in their cadre.
Barkha Dutt and Vir Sanghvi:
Radia also seems to have struck up a friendship with Karunanidhi and Rajathiammal's daughter Kanimozhi, who plays an important role in this set of connections. Her influence over Kani's decisions is surprising.
In a seemingly harmless conversation with Poongothai Aladi Aruna (a Member of Legislative Assembly and minister in the Tamil Nadu government) about the astrologer Niira has directed her to, the discussion swerves towards the mistakes Kani has made. Kani has displayed naiveté with politics, which has been picked up by the two. According to them Kani should have listened to the astrologer, Kani should have taken the MoS (Minister of State) position, and Kani doesn't look after herself, but after everyone else. Since "this is politics", she should be more ruthless. On a side note, the astrologer she recommends is Niira's cousin - it seems there are very few people that she isn't lobbying for.
Vir Sanghvi and Barkha Dutt's involvement in this was initially shocking, but when one takes a step back, the realisation hits: their role in the tapes only stresses on something else we already knew - that you cannot take the press seriously. While they made statements saying they were not power broking or lobbying for any political party, one tends to see their efforts to save their reputations as flimsy, with a lot of loopholes.
NDTV presented a programme, "a level playing field", where other journalists could clarify things with Barkha. The panel on this programme included Manu Joseph (editor of Open Magazine), Dileep Padgaonkar (ToI), Swapan Dasgupta (columnist) and Sanjay Baru (editor of Business Standard). It is interesting to note that journalists from the ToI and the Business Standard have featured heavily in the tapes - so how can one rest assured that the panel is un-biased?
Also the stress on the fact that the programme is "unedited" brings one to the question: is it that shows are otherwise regularly edited? Thirdly, Barkha insists that none of these conversations "influenced her coverage" and proceeds to show clips of the coverage that she has chosen. However, the issue isn't about coverage as much as it is about her hobnobbing among political parties. Of this, she says nothing but "I was trying to get information" - how come none of this information culminated in a story?
The same concern applies to Vir Sanghvi, who said in his statement in HT, "While gathering news, journalists talk to a wide variety of sources from all walks of life, especially when a fast-moving story is unfolding. Out of a desire to elicit more information from these sources, we are generally polite. I received many calls from different sources during that period. In no case did I act on those requests as anybody in the government will know." Where was the story?
In this way, dynasty politics, political lobbying and (at the face of it) power brokering journalists form a distressing network which in turn, spirals into a phenomenal dilution of democratic values. Niira's concern of India being a "banana republic" is, ironically, nothing but the gloomy truth.
Spin Doctoring (News Content):
Radia plays a huge role in the development of news stories - whether it is in the creation of content or simply suppressing said content so it never sees the light of day.
Niira's Freudian-slip lets on a lot about her agenda: "I told him, I said, Rahul, if I find negat- I don't care if it's negative or positive, if you have a negative story and we've done something wrong and you carry it Rashmi, no problem, as long as you carry my point of view, right? I have no issues -"
The talk between Rashmi Pratap, a journalist from the Economic Times and Niira Radia is a key conversation in the tapes as it illustrates how the combination of public relations and advertiser influence can threaten a newspaper into submission. Rashmi claims to have heard that Bharti Airtel is buying over Tata, which Niira vehemently denies. While in the beginning of the conversation both seem amicable towards each other (Niira tells her how much respect she has for her), towards the end the tension becomes noticeable.
Rashmi seems a little confrontational or cut and dry, at first. When Niira claims that her story is wrong and her sources are "loonies", Rashmi sounds slightly peeved but says she knows, seemingly trying her best not to antagonise Niira. After all, who wants Niira Radia for an enemy? However, it is not clear whether Ms. Pratap is being defensive or driving home a point on her credibility, as she flip flops between soothing and incensed.
Radia has said once in another conversation, "...If they do lie ...and if they do wrong ...then what will happen? Won't they, won't people report on it? Isn't that journalism?" However, even though Rashmi says she will include Niira's point of view, an audibly angry Niira says, ""I'll let Tatas deal with Bennett-Coleman" - an obvious threat and an overt illustration of corporate control over media.
The Ambanis have been known to quash stories about their kin in the past. Take for instance, the ban on The Polyester Prince, a book by Hamish McDonald that paints Dhirubhai Ambani in not so flattering light. In the year in which Dhirubhai Ambani died, there was only one news channel that focused on the scams he was involved in - the next year, the same channel broadcasted the Reliance Annual General Body Meeting live. It is apparent that the Ambani influence had a lot to do with this development.
Could this be an example of a similar situation? Jehangir Pocha calls Niira with details of an accident which took place involving Anil Ambani's son. A lot of journalistic "care" is taken in terms of verification and accuracy because the accident involved "someone's son". Would the same "care" be taken with someone who does not harbour so much advertiser influence? Niira is thrilled to hear that it isn't a child of Mukesh, and that Vaishnavi will not have to spin into damage control mode. She takes the opportunity to facilitate some mudslinging. However, Jehangir is quick to state that it needs to be "100 % watertight"; while reading between the lines one knows that the article will not be published. The ball, for once, is not in Niira's court. Disheartened, or possibly peeved, she hangs up quickly.
While in the previous tape Niira expresses relief, and even joy to know about an incident involving Anil Ambani's son, it is a completely different case with Mukesh's children. This conversation with Senthil Chengalvarayan, Managing Director at CNBC TV18, is regarding an issue with MDA's kids which "should not have been printed". The article in question was written by Indrajit Gupta, and it stated that Mukesh Ambani's children got into Yale not based on merit, but on their father's monetary influence. Senthil is almost ingratiatingly apologetic about pulling the Ambani kids into public light, to the extent that Niira sounds as if she is bullying him into having this apology published. His nervous tone is offset by Niira's disbelieving uh-huhs and commanding assertions.
Another issue which crops up is regarding an article written by Shobhaa De run in Hello Magazine and Society Magazine. The version run in Hello and Society is edited - however, Shobhaa puts up the unedited version on her blog. One wonders what was so objectionable about the article...perhaps Vaishnavi Corporate Communications was concerned that the amount spent on Niita's son's pet cows surpasses that of her own fake mangmalas. Or would Nita's peers ridicule her for being depicted as a middle-class Gujju bahu? It is interesting to note that it was Murli "Uncle's" approval of the Mukesh-Nita jodi that mattered; it was the same Murli Deora in the Petroleum Ministry, working out policies (right before the Ambani gas-price war).
According to Radia, the agreement was with Hello Magazine and therefore it is their duty to take off the blog, and as a result, Shobhaa De is in breach of her privileges. Radia asks Manoj Warrier of Vaishnavi to pass this on to Shobhaa. Secondly, it is decided Nita Ambani requires better PR handling owing to the mistakes she made in this interview. Therefore Radia decides to put a certain Natasha, from Neucom, in charge. According to the conversations, Natasha has previously handled Simone Tata as well and is experienced in handling things in this domain. Niira feels that "Natty" would know how to project Nita as a fun, philanthrophic entrepreuner - something Shobhaa has clearly failed to do with her long-drawn descriptions of the Ambanis' "thrift". The conversations with a Srini (whose identity has not been ascertained), Manoj Warrier and Niira Radia show how these changes are made and what measures would be taken against the publication in question.
In this way, what government-run media can do to news flow in many countries is only replaced by a corporate-run news flow. At least with the former, one knows to take news with a pinch of salt. With the latter, every piece of news we get seems to be the result of internal industry battles, public relations and marketing. There is no conscientious media, and even worse, it is not as free as we think.
Gas Pricing Issue:
Around the time that the High Court judgment on the Gas Price Dispute was due to be heard, Niira began to make phone calls to several high-up editors and their staff. She had a "friendly chat" with each, in order to get "their opinion" on the issue. In most tapes she says she is not "getting emotional because of her clients" and that she is genuinely concerned about India turning into a "banana republic". Having heard these conversations at length over a period of time, it has become evident that Niira was in fact subtly moulding and pressurising editorial opinion in favour of Mukesh Ambani.
Niira Radia ran through 4 points while trying to make her case. She would begin with the Sasan Coal Issue, discussing the judgment. The EGoM's (Empowered Group of Minister's) retroactive approval of Anil's diversion of coal would be brought up, with focus on the unfairness of this move. Conversation would then move onto the Iron Ore Issue, stating that the government should not give approval to Anil Ambani. She argued that this should not be allowed as he "does not even have a steel plant". Following this, the Spectrum Issue would be brought up. At last, and most importantly, Niira would bring up the Gas issue.
What was the crux of her argument? That these four natural resources require responsible allocation, that media and the government should take cognizance of the matter, that politicians should not be influenced by corporate schemes. Niira says all the right things to covertly push her agenda. Her smart use of language and diplomacy, not to mention the advertiser influence her clients harbour, had most of the media willing to side her.
Editors as high up as Rahul Joshi of Economic Times are featured in the tapes. Radia flatters ET's coverage of the Gas issue, while he responds by promising not to "go over the top in all this" and keep it factual. Isn't the media in any case supposed to be factual and avoid sensationalism? Why should he be making promises to a lobbyist about his group's media ethics, when it is something they should in any circumstance be maintaining?
Niira's conversation with R. Sridharan of ET Now illustrates her sheer power in the domain of content and news. The two negotiate the presence of certain personalities at a budget briefing. Niira is in charge of allocating which character will appear on which channel - in this case, CNBC and ET Now. She says she will give each channel a fair split, with one ECC and one CFO to be present on each show. Sridharan feels that she should be assuring the presence of the most important personalities to ET Now, "...otherwise what's the point, having known you for so many years..." while Niira retorts by saying, "CNBC can say same thing to me, na?" This brings out the truth behind the network between lobbyists and media groups - for the people actually on screen, it's all about being in the right place at the right time. What we don't see, what's packed away in behind the scenes conversations such as this one, is what is imperative to contextualising and understanding the actual news content.
Another example of the above is the tape featuring Rajdeep Sardesai, in which he discusses how his staff should be briefed (regarding the subject of gas price) with Radia. Niira is to be present at this briefing too. Niira's involvement in what is ideally supposed to be an internal meeting is particularly distressing.
Prabhu Chawla of the Indian Express speaks to Niira at length about the Gas issue; their conversation moves across various subjects that fall under this umbrella. Chawla says that both sides have the capacity to fix the judgment but that the "younger brother is more mobile". The two discuss the judgment, as well as the reasons Mukesh isn't able to receive the "right feedback" (his orthodox attitudes and policies as opposed to those of his brother are spoken about). They also talk about Petroleum Minister Murli Deora's stance on the issue - "Prime Minister is also putting pressure on Murli Deora to settle it. Because ultimately it is national loss na, as you put it", he said. This conversation raises some major concerns - Prabhu seems to be passing on information to Mukesh through Radia, and this sounds like information that can work the judgment in MDA's favour. Should a media person be providing this information to a lobbyist instead of publishing it and putting it in public domain?
Rising from accusations of asset-stripping is a situation that's uncannily similar to Wall Street.
Those featuring in these tapes allege that Praful Patel has merged Air India and Indian Airlines in order to strip the resulting airline's assets. After this, he plans on handing it over to Vijay Mallya and Naresh Goyal so that they can sell said assets. Sunil Arora goes as far as to describe it as the "connivance of Naresh Goyal and Vijay Mallya to destroy the airline". Notice a similarity between this and Gordon Gecko's modus operandi? Eerie.
When the Air India kickbacks issue came to light, the issue of bilaterals being given to foreign airlines rose too. Foreign airlines began to make far more profits than Indian ones. Surojit, a journalist, points to how Etihad and Emirates have doubled their profits in only five years. Praful Patel, it seemed, had ruined Air India. He began to pursue Ratan Tata - would he be a part of the team?
Airlines in India were started by JRD Tata. However, when Ratan Tata wanted to start an airline he was denied the opportunity. For these reasons, Radia maintains that he most certainly will not help the aviation minister. She says that after "raping" and "destroying" the national carrier airline, Praful Patel only wants to use Tata as a front.
Upender, another journalist, and Surojit are each writing an article about "how he has screwed up the airline", as the latter puts it. Radia gives them information on the "demise of Air India".
She also speaks with Sunil Arora, ex-chairman of Air India, on many occasions. In the past, Sunil had prepared an entire dossier exposing the scams within Air India, a copy of which Radia has and is willing to share with Jaideep Bose. While talking to Tarun Das, Radia points to how Sunil Arora is the only man who can fix the aviation mess. Tarun says they should bring him back, but the Prime Minister has to do this as Praful will never agree. They also discuss how Ratan would probably land up as a puppet if he were to take this up.
So we've got the government cleaning up the mess the industrialists make, and industrialists cleaning up the mess the government makes. In the end, they seem to cancel each other out.
Other issues the leaks throw up:
The leaks are multi-layered. Not only is there the question of the raw data the leaks themselves consist of, but also the large number of tangential subjects that arise from them. Advertiser influence might have dissuaded certain groups from focussing on the tapes, but there are also the questions of privacy and the origin of the tapes which might not allow for objective coverage.
The subject of privacy breach turns the entire matter on its head, bringing up ethical questions of a different persuasion! In a poll conducted by siliconindia.com, 59.39% of voters believe that the privacy breach is acceptable, while 40.61% believe it is not. It is a concern that if Radia's Right to Privacy could be infringed upon, it could happen to any one of us. However, it is not that black and white an issue - some argue that the invasion of a fundamental right is justified when it opens up and leads to information that should undeniably be in the public domain. Open and Outlook magazines rationalize that the knowledge we gain from the tapes lead to the greater good - and therefore the issue of privacy should not take front seat. However, the articles and transcripts were published without the consent of, and without the point of view of the parties in question. This leads us to the question of responsible journalism even with regard to the two muckraking magazines.
Some theorise that the tapes were leaked to create a diversion from A. Raja and his antics, but this seems unlikely. Had this been the case it would definitely have received far more coverage from the media, rather than the taut silence it displayed (owing, I suppose, to the involvement of big names in journalism). When coverage finally began to trickle onto our television screens, the tapes were referred to as the "2G Tapes". What you name an issue can often give it very different connotations than what it really is. For instance, during the Egyptian uprising against Mubarak - what was a revolution was termed as "chaos" by a major Indian news channel. By now, we know the larger amount of the tapes' content is with reference to the cabinet, and to the gas price issue (although it is possible that the bulk of the tapes forming evidence of this are not in the public domain). Therefore naming it the 2G Tapes seems like it is drawing attention to the controversy deliberately, rather than trying to sidetrack it.
To cite from Wikipedia, "Initially, only a handful of the mainstream newspapers in India, like The Hindu, The Deccan Herald, Indian Express had openly written about the tapes. Some newspapers like HT Media, Mint (the business newspaper also owned by HT media) and NDTV said "the authenticity of these transcripts cannot be ascertained". CNN-IBN's Sagarika Ghose discussed with a panel of experts, if the corporate lobbying is undermining democracy, on the Face the Nation programme on the channel, but chose to play safe by avoiding the crux of the matter and choosing not to take names."
There was almost no mention of the Radia tapes for nearly a week after Outlook and Open magazines published the transcripts. This is clearly owing to the involvement of big corporate names, big media names, and big political names. All news was dispersed only through alternate media - Twitter, alternate news portals like Kafila, etc. At times like these, the necessity for alternate media is most.
The mainstream media's defence lies in the fact that they could not authenticate the origin of the tapes, nor their content. Fair enough. Maybe Open and Outlook should have verified more information before they published the dirty details. However, with time, as the importance of the leaks began to grow, the media should have given it more coverage or at the very least investigated where it came from and why. The tapes - be it by omission or by inclusion - have brought to light a huge network of dirty dealings. The confirmations they provide are very important for the public to know - that our "democracy", so to speak, might not be one after all. Commerce is all that matters and big industrialists hold sway over the government's working. At the end of it all, the Niira Radia controversy has brought to light a situation that makes us lose complete faith in the system. Call it what you want - banana republic, murky, dodgy - the fact remains that an already apathetic generation hurtles further down the ennui spiral. We don't know where to start protesting or what to protest against, but merely accept and laugh coarsely.
―――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――Cast of Characters:
Journalists & Media Personalities:
a) Times Group:
Navika Kumar (TimesNow)
Rashmi (Economic Times)
Rahul Joshi (Executive Editor of ET)
Sridharan Ramakrishnan/R. Sridharan [Senior Editor (News & Trends), ET Now]
Jaideep Bose (Editor-in-Chief, TOI)
M.K. Venu (Managing editor, the Financial Express.Venu was with the Economic Times at the time of conversation)
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam (ET)
Shankkar Aiyar (India Today)
Senthil Chengalvarayan (Managing Editor at CNBC TV18)
Rajdeep Sardesai (Editor-in-chief CNN-IBN)
c) Express Group:
Sunil Jain [Indian Express/Business Standard columnist (needs verification)]
Prabhu Chawla (Editorial Director, Editor-in-chief, The New Indian Express)
Barkha Dutt (NDTV)
e) Press Trust of India:
Rakesh Hari Pathak (Economic Bureau Chief PTI)
f) ABP Group:
Jehangir Pocha (ex-Businessworld Editor)
g) Hindustan Times Group:
Vir Sanghvi (HT Editor)
e) Other / Unknown group:
Suhel Seth - Managing Partner of Counselage India, a New Delhi-based branding consultancy and also writes columns in Business India, GQ magazine, Dainik Bhaskar, The Hindustan Times and The Indian Express on current affairs and the social landscape of India
K. Venugopal - Editor, Hindu Business Line
Politicians / Government:
Rajathi Ammal (Karuna's wife, Kanimozhi's mother)
A. Raja (Former Telecom Minister)
R.K. Chandolia (Raja aide)
Kanimozhi (Karunanidhi's daughter with his second wife, Rajathi Ammal)
Poongothai Aladi Aruna (India politician and currently serving Member of the Legislative Assembly and a minister in Tamil Nadu Government, D/O Aladi Aruna)
NK Singh (Former IAS, current MoP @ Rajya Sabha)
Sunil Arora (Ex-Indian Airlines Chief)
Vaishnavi / Neucomm Employees:
Rohit Khanna (Associate Director at Vaishnavi Corporate Communications)
Manoj Warrier (Executive Director at Vaishnavi Corporate Communications)
Yatish Wahal (Associate Director, Vaishnavi Advisory Services pvt. Ltd)
Vishal Mehta (CEO Vaishnavi Corporate Communications)
Ratan Tata (Chairman Tata Sons, Tata Group)
Srinath Narasimhan (CEO Tata Communications)
Mr S. Padmanabhan, Paddy (Executive Director-Operations, Tata Power)
Noel Tata (Noel Tata an Indian businessman, who is the Chairman of Trent Ltd.Noel Tata is the son of Naval Tata and Simone Tata. Married to Aloo Mistry, the daughter of Pallonji Mistry, who is the largest single shareholder in Tata Sons (the Tata Group's holding company). He is also the half-brother of Tata Group's chairperson, Ratan Tata.)
Venkat (Executive Secretary to Ratan Tata)
Shalini Singh (Head-Corporate Communications at TATA Power)
Cecilia (Personal Assistant to RK Krishna Kumar, Chairman of Tata Realty and Infrastructure, and Tata Housing and Devt Company)
b) Reliance Industries Ltd.:
Mukesh Ambani (Chairman & Managing Director - Reliance Industries Ltd.)
PMS Prasad (Executive Director, Reliance Industries Ltd.)
Manoj Modi (RIL)
K R Raja (Chief accountant RIL)
Tarun Das (Former head, Confederation of Indian Industry)
Ranjan Bhattacharya (Hotelier and political lobbyist)
Most of the tapes have information or description which throws some light on the issue at hand. However in spite of all efforts, in certain cases it is not known with whom Radia is conversing. Here is the list of those tapes, and thoughts on who it could be (please note, this is not verified information, merely speculation):
(# 20090616-203304) Unknown
(# 130) Unknown
(# 98) Unknown
(# 20090619-140812) Unknown
(# 20090627-141520) Unknown
(# 104) Some MP
(# 94) Sanjay (Sanjay Chandra of Unitech?)
(# 127) Bajpai (Madhav?)
(# 100) Dorai (Vaishnavi employee?)
(# 63) Tata Adviser (Mr. Prasad? As in PMS Prasad or Prasad Menon?)
(# 53) Rakesh (Probably Tata Power employee)
(# 66) Manish (Bangalore Office)
(# 108) Baiju Biju (Pradip Baijal, ex-TRAI chairman?)
Pressurising ET - Tanu (A TV Journalist)
(# 20090531-205054) Atul (Radia colleague, looks after regional and vernacular media, Vaishnavi?)
(# 20090621-110248) Harinder Singh (Founder-Chairman and the Managing Director of Realistic Realtors)