The games Dutt plays…

Leaked audio clips of a conversation between Dutt and Nira Radia are now doing the rounds on cyber space. This video proves that games are continued to be played as a result of the powerful media lobbying and with more conviction than ever before. Looking forward to your views and my opinion to follow shortly.

From the Open magazine –

Earlier this week, Telecom Minister A Raja of the DMK was forced to resign after pressure mounted on the government over irregularities in the allotment of the 2G spectrum. But this decision to sacrifice an individual in no way changes the system that Raja embodies. Evidence filed on the 15th of November in the Supreme Court seems to shed some light on the networks of lobbyists and power brokers that actually dictate how this country is run.

While Raja is gone, these networks survive, shaping and influencing our lives in ways we cannot imagine. Thanks to a fortuitous set of circumstances, the transcripts that follow shed some light on one such network of power.

The phone lines of the head of Vaishnavi Communication, Niira Radia, were twice placed under surveillance by the Income Tax Department (based on a tip-off by the Central Board of Direct Taxes) for a few months in 2008 and 2009. Niira Radia is a woman of formidable networking and PR skills, so much so that she represents both the Tata and the Mukesh Ambani group. Some of these recorded phone conversations are now available with Open; they were placed before the Supreme Court this week by petitioners Centre for Public Interest Litigation, represented by senior counsel Prashant Bhushan. He had moved the Supreme Court with a plea that the 2G spectrum investigation that involves Raja should be monitored by the Court in view of the mounting evidence.

In a rejoinder in the case, the petitioners submitted, “These conversations were given by the Directorate of Income Tax (Investigations) to the CBI more than a year back. A copy of the taped conversations of Ms Radia with Respondent No. 5 (A. Raja), other politicians, Ratan Tata, other corporates, senior journalists and certain middlemen in a CD are annexed as Annexure P35… Some of the transcripts of the conversations which relate to the lobbying for making Respondent No. 5 as Telecom Minister are annexed as Annexure P36.’’

These recordings, which appear to be only a small part of the recordings made available by the IT department to the CBI, were made in the period of surveillance from 11 May 2009 to 11 July 2009. We are in no position to endorse the contents of the recordings, but as the material is now in the public domain, we can now place them on record. What follows is just a small part of the information contained in the recordings submitted to the court.

The conversations presented below focus on two important events: 1) the aftermath of the Bombay High Court judgment of 15 June 2009 on the dispute between brothers Anil Ambani and Mukesh Ambani over the allotment of gas; 2) efforts by Niira Radia to mediate an understanding between the DMK and the Congress between 20 May 2009 and 24 May 2009 at the time of the Cabinet formation of UPA-II. For a period of time, with direct communication breaking down between the DMK and the Congress, a section of the DMK (Raja and DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s daughter, Kanimozhi) was in constant touch with Radia on what was going on and how the Congress needed to react. In turn, Radia relied on a number of people to pass information on to the Congress and back to the DMK. In a way, these were the people who eventually ensured Raja was given the telecom portfolio.
The transcripts that follow are from Niira Radia’s conversations with highly influential people. Going by the evidence of the phone taps, these include journalists Vir Sanghvi and Barkha Dutt, and Ranjan Bhattacharya (foster son-in-law of former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee), who seem to have played out the roles of mediators between the Congress and Radia, who was in turn speaking to Raja and Kanimozhi. According to these tapes, Vir Sanghvi seems to have relied heavily on his discussions with Radia to write his column on the gas judgment. The transcripts that appear here do not suggest any direct role for the person Radia is in conversation with, rather they reflect the power and the ability she commands to influence events.


“What kind of story do you want? Because this will go as Counterpoint, so it will be like most-most read, but it can’t seem too slanted, yet it is an ideal opportunity to get all the points across”

“Oh God. So now what? What should I tell them? Tell me what should I tell them?”

‘He (Raja) told me he said he needs help in the media. So I promised him I’ll help him. I’m helping him Ratan wherever I can but the thing is that every time you try and help him, he goes and makes stupid statements, you know.

“Hmm …tell Sunil Mittal, you have to work along with Raja for another five years”

“Yes, yes. That I know. I’m just saying be careful, because he’s trying to get somebody from the Congress (to) say things against Raja to dad”

“I haven’t even gotten up, I cannot put pen to paper… Otherwise, I am there and you want me to speak to anyone, not that you don’t know anyone.”


»Ahmed Patel: Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary

»M Karunanidhi: Tamil Nadu chief minister, often referred to as “the Leader” or “Leader” in the recorded conversations

»Ghulam Nabi Azad: former J&K chief minister and currently the Union Health minister. Azad is the Congress party’s general secretary in charge of Tamil Nadu affairs

»M K Azhagiri: (pronounced Aragiri): Karunanidhi’s elder son and since last year, the union minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers

»M K Stalin: Karunanidhi’s younger son and deputy in the Tamil Nadu government

»Dayanidhi Maran: The former Union Communications and IT minister. He is also Karunanidhi’s grandnephew and was removed as minister in UPA-I after Dinakaran, the Tamil paper his brother Kalanithi owns, published a survey saying people in the state would prefer Stalin rather than Azhagiri to succeed Karunanidhi. Violence followed

»T R Baalu: Union minister for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways during the UPA’s first term

»Dayalu Ammal: Karunanidhi’s second wife and Azhagiri and Stalin’s mother

»Rajathi Ammal: Karunanidhi’s third wife and Kanimozhi’s mother

»Amar Singh: Former Samajwadi Party General Secretary and a crony of Anil Ambani


46 Responses to “The games Dutt plays…”

  1. Even before NDTV had a full fledged news channel of its own, we have grown up seeing India’s most trusted face on News Television – Mr. Pranoy Roy. What a Barkha is today or can be 2 decades later can never be compared to what Mr Roy means to our generation.

    The man whose election analysis was the final word for One Billion Indians himself would never have or never will indulge in such “sourcing of news”. He never will.. Most viewers of NDTV can vouch for it.. Perhaps he is being a Manmohan to Raja (read Barkha) of NDTV..

    I dont know whether i will tune in to NDTV in the next elections..As there will be another DMK, another Raja and another Radia that time around too..Perhaps its time that we get out of the addictive habit of waiting to hear what Mr Roy has to say and not swapping channels during commercial breaks.

    • Well said Suresh. A long time ago, Mr Roy was the only “reliable” source and he had no other to compete with. The problem arises when media is allowed to raise it’s ugly head in more ways than one. Having said this, Mr Roy is said to be “married” into the CPIM and has a very close nexus with them. I have been disappointed with Dutt post 26/11. All her efforts and good work during the Kargil days came tumbling down rapidly. Dutt is a biased journalist, especially with her debates on Kashmir. I did expect her to be an active lobbyist, and here is the proof. I hear Vir Sanghvi is not far behind either now.

    • My generation’s ‘ Window ‘ to the world was ‘ The World this Week’ (Every friday night)
      That program still evokes fuzzy feelings in me.

      And I have been a great personal admirer of his and his channel .
      Wish you would have learnt some morals from Dr Roy .

      But Barkha you choose to shame us all .

  2. I am surprised that Dutt still claims she was doing her job and there is nothing wrong in “sourcing” information! She must get her head checked.

  3. Sharmila,

    These tapes were shown some months back by NDTV themselves and also sold to TimesNow, HT, Aaj Tak and the rest of the caucus.

    I thought it was a well laid out game plan.

    Nira’s tapes of lobbying in MoI were first aired by headlines Today and the India TV networks on all their channels but the case ran out of fuel because of 2-3 reasons.

    1. In those days the Aaj Tak – Tehelka nexus was having a field day at Bellary and the Ram Sena in Bengaluru.

    2. Raja’s case was quickly moved to the investigating agencies by the PMO probably because the parliament was in session then. That was a dampener for the media. Raja’s scoops had to be kept on the back burner till the opposition MPs dispersed. I believe it is the Congress who is dealing the cards on Raja and the dice is heavily loaded.

    3. The parties that had lost the 2G contract waited till the CWG and Obama visited were done with. And now they are back.

    Let us be dead sure of one thing. Regardless of who has got the 2G contract or who is the Minister holding the portfolio, the sleeze money would have changed hands anyway.

    Political corruption is an unwritten order and traditional custom in the Congress party since the Lahore Convention of 1929 when Subhash Chandra Bose rose and fell, Jinnah declared his intentions officially and Gandhi trashed the Congress’ white-collar power politics. Faces and generations change, policies and ethics are an heritage.

    A. Raja is an elected MP from the Nilgiri District, my home base. I have had the opportunity to discuss this scandal with some of the locals.

    No one – absolutely not a single knowledgable person who has voted for Raja – feels that Raja has done anything wrong. If he has made mooney it will only benefit the constituency in some way. He cannot sit on the money or run away to the Congo valley.

    For me, the sad part is that he allowed the holding companies based out of UK to save money. If the contract was awarded entirely to an Indian company and all the hardware and technology was Indian, it would make no difference if the sleeze money went to Nilgiris, Ahmedabad or Jamshedpur. It would still circulate within the nation.

    However, in this case, bulk of it was a saving for those in UK and the US.

    Mouth-pieces like Barkha Dutt have a nuisance value in the real world of business and politics. But, rest assured, they are properly reined and controlled.

    For instance, can any of these stand-up comedians like Barkha Dutt, say how many projects of the government of India are owned and run by Israel? Israel is actively engaged in defense technologies, espionage, trans-national brokerages, money laundering etc

    They do not appear on the radar of the media, yet on any given day a significant percentage of the executive suites in five star hotels in Mumbai and Delhi are occupied by Israelies. Why?

    Barkha Dutt and her likes are puppets on a chain. They are not worth their names.

  4. Reader – well said. We have a lot to learn from Israel. The difference being is that most Israelis do what is in the best interest of their country, unlike how we operate in this part of the world. Regarding people thinking that raja did no wrong is traditional style of thinking in TN. Voters also think Karunanidhi is a lamb and Jaya is a benign cow. I would not attach too much to what people think of their representatives there. But, yes, Dutt is a clown and I am glad that these tapes make us laugh a fair bit. Did you hear her squeal ” what should I tell them, tell me, what should I tell them?”!

    • Sharmila,

      The larger picture on the canvas, in my opinion, is this:

      Etisalat and the associated lot, who were targetted in this 2G scam, are industrial arms of the Nation of Islam. They would do away with all boundaries if they could because all their believers are members of an extended family. Their strongest detractors are Jews.

      Both operate globally and indiscriminately.

      Even if the Moghuls, who ruled this region for 300+ years, were Turkish, every rich Sheikh, anywhere in the world, is firmly committed to the spirit of the Khalifat and supremacy of their faith. Hence, every effort towards that aim and ascendancy.

      On the other side, the Jews are a scientific yet faithless people who are baptized by fire – very similar to Maoists and Stalinists.

      This is not about religion. This is about absolute economic clout and hegemony.

      Anyone who feels that this is in the interest of spreading faith is fairly and squarely mistaken. There are no such tenets in any religion or faith. Islam goes several steps further and prohibits profiteering.

      Vedic Hindus have survived all of these and more in India. They survived Mahavir, Buddha, Christ, Islam and the barbaric Englishman, because Vedic Hindus do not establish dominions.

      Politics, Banking, Media, Industry, Education etc are occupations of the rich and powerful regardless of faith.

      These are not the domain of philosophers of any creed or kind in the post-industrial world order. Philosophy is for the poor and the humiliated.

      I know 3 persons who agree with this view: Leo Tolstoy, Feodor Dostovsky and Mahatma Gandhi.

    • The questions that are unanswered are:

      1. Why is the DMK supporting the petro-dollar?

      2. What is Anil Ambani’s stake in the middle east? We know that Mukesh has got an off-shore Oil Rig and platform in the persian gulf. What is Anil Ambani doing here?

      3. Is it a co-incidence that back in 18th century the East India started its minting operations from Madras?

      4. Is it a co-incidence that Christian missions entered the country through Tamil Nadu?

      5. Is it a co-incidence that LTTE supporters are also DMK cadre?

      6. Is separtism confined to Kashmir and Arunachal? Can DMK be trusted on issues of nationalism?

      7. Is it a simple case of corruption or is it another devious dravidian agenda?

      8. Can Tamil Nadu ever have it’s own currency and defend itself from aggression on land, air and sea?

      9. Is it as simple as politics of Muslim/Christian/Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe vote banks or something more sinister?

      These questions require more factual information than what the media and web sites can offer as answers.

      And it is ‘not’ important per se. Who cares…

      • Hmm…plenty of food for thought. It will be interesting to see this so called Tamil agenda flourish after Karuna kicks the bucket. This is when the real fun begins. DMK will be butchered and partitioned between Stalin, Allagiri and Maran.

      • 🙂 Right…! Reader…!
        Who cares….!???

      • You know what Chanakya says in the Neeti:

        If you have to choose between treacherous people and a snake, choose the snake – it bites only once.

  5. Very sad state of affairs. The regards I had for Barkha had gone down so much. In this whole 2 G issues in the past week, we can see Times Now and CNN IBN coming out with lot of new information, whereas NDTV is very silent on this. Mr. Roy is a great man and his channel NDTV used to be the best but now I got the answer why NDTV Is silent on 2G…with Barkha taking sides you will not get any true information from her nor NDTV. So Sad.

  6. Absolutely shocking… where r we heading to

  7. Have you noticed a difference between the entertainment quotient of Politics and Hindi Cinema?

    Politics is invisible, governs our civil rights and prevails for a life time.

    Hindi cinema is visible, exploits our civil rights and is a waste of time.

  8. R. Gopalakrishnan Nair Says:

    So what does this mean? That the decision to from our democratic government is not BY the people as all we gullible believe and vote, but by a handful of demimondes such as Bhurka Dutt and Niira Rida??? Then, for whom?

    Very good, thank you for the post.

  9. wow shocking turn of events….i always felt that NDTV indulged in lobbying and not giving enough coverage to some important news,even the hindi version of it.when inflation was at its peak ndtv was surprisingly silent…but personally from barkha dutt…stunning…
    its a shame really,such a senior journalist and indulging in such unethical activities…sadly ome of india’s best english news channel has lost people’s faith…

  10. Raja and barkha went up the Hill to fetch a pail of Dollar, Raja fell down and broke his crown, and Barkha came tumbling after! 🙂

    Just made this…exclusive for your blog, inspired by your blog 🙂

    – Amit

  11. Wow, great Amit. A poet in the making! Thank you. Loved the poem.. 🙂

  12. R. Gopalakrishnan Nair Says:

    The man who felled a King (Raja). This is his blog

  13. Time Pass:

    Braking News. Stop Press.

    Transcript of a secret meeting of the stake-holders of the “Too Much G” scam.

    Attendess: Sharmila, Burkha Butt, Nira Radio, End-run Raja, Mammon Singh.

    Nira Radio: Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to this extra-ordinary secret meeting.

    Burkha Butt: Secret? I am sourcing information for broadcasting!

    End-run Raja: Butty, I need media help.

    Burkha: What help?

    End-run: Please keep this one off the air.

    Burkha: Can’t do. What about Times, HT and the tabloids?

    End-run: Appeal to Sonio.

    Burkha: Can’t do. Sonio is using bleaching powder on corruption cases. She has asked me to create the pressure. The public opinion mayhem.

    Mammon Singh: But why me? Why am I in your list?

    Burkha: That is to keep the DMK support in the parliament. UPA will be voted out of power if Karunanidhi pulls the plug.

    End-run: Save me!

    Burkha: Talk to Kapil

    End-run: Kapil Dev?

    Burkha: Kapil Cimble, DoT

    End-run: But I have the AG’s recommendation for awarding the contract.

    Mammo: The AG is my lawyer!

    End-run: He is mine!

    Mammo: Mine!

    End-run: Mine!

    Burkha: Boys! Boys! He is not either of yours. He is Sonio’s man.

    End-run: I have Swami.

    Burkha: Which Swami? From Malgudi days? Don’t be sure endy…

    End-run: I have got Maran!

    Burkha: Maran is offered a portfolio! He will take over from you!

    End-run: Telecom?

    Burkha: No. Some other Ministry where he does not deal with foreigners.

    End-run: Why Maran?

    Burkha: He’ll do as the US and UK tell him to. You embeddeed Arabs.

    End-run: I didn’t! That’s a lie! I was dealing with Dhoot! The Jain Marwari!

    Burkha: Same thing.

    End-run: I can change, no? I will. I will embed the King of United Kingdom.

    Burkha: Baby, United Kingdom has a Queen!

    End-run: Eh? You mean it’s a Queen-dom?

    Burkha: Something like that.

    End-run: Why?

    Sharmila: Never Mind.

    End-run (To Sharmila): Save me!

    Sharmila (Points to Burkha): Talk to her.

    Burkha: I have a plan.

    End-run, Nira, Mammon: Do you?

    Burkha: Yes. But I don’t know how it will work.

    End-run: Tell, tell.

    Burkha: Let Swami file the SC petition.

    Mammon: What about me?

    Burkha: Hear me out.

    End-run: Sshhh..

    Burkha: Swami files petition. Mammo comes clean. Bureaucratic procedures… get that?

    Mammo: Yes, yes.

    Burkha: CAG submits report to Cimble. Cimble forwards report to the Public Accounts Committee, PAC. Get that?

    End-run: What if NDA asks for a JPC?

    Burkha: There will be no JPC. Sonio rules!

    Mammo: Yes, you are right.

    Burkha: TRAI withdraws licenses.

    End-run: No, no! They have paid already!

    Burkha: Sorry, bro. That’s a no go. TRAI must show its teeth.

    End-run: Will they bite?

    Burkha: No. Your friends can come in through the window.

    End-run: How?

    Burkha: Share the technology.

    End-run: But that’s an outdated technology. Too much G! The world is already in three much G!

    Burkha: Tough luck! Like it or lump it!

    End-run: How can I repay my debts?

    Burkha: I don’t know, but don’t you dare offer them TV channels. I don’t want competition! Hear that Mammo.

    Mammo: Don’t tell me. Tell Sonio. I am worse than the President. I don’t even sign anything these days!

    End-run: TV Channels? Hmmm..

    Burkha: Kill the thought endy before I break loose.

    Nira Radio: Ladies and Gentlemen, shall we agree?

    Mammo: I agree.

    End-run: Did I agree?

    Radio: We have enough documents to keep the court busy for the next decade.

    End-run: Good!

    Radio: We shall let Swami kick-start the process.

    Burkha: Let me do that on my Channel.

    Radio: How?

    Burkha: I will release the tapes of our conversation!

    Radio: What conversation?

    Burkha: I don’t know. Let’s have one that can be released as a scoop!

    Radio: Deal!

    End-run: What about me?

    Burkha: You lie low. And keep away from Headlines Today.

    Radio: He is laid already.

    End-run: Am I? Okay.

    Mammo: What about the noise in the parliament?

    Burkha: Wear ear plugs.

    End-run: What if the courts put it on fast track?

    Burkha: Sonio will manage that. The DoT will be a party to the case. So, even a fast track court will take 20 years.

    End-run: Muruga! Thank God for DoT.

    Nira (Whispers aside to Burkha): What if Sharmila writes on her blog?

    Burkha (aside): Put the tapes on YouTube.

    Nira: Eh? How will that help?

    Burkha: Dilutes the issue.

    Nira: What if she tweets?

    Burkha: I’ll take that. My channel needs the TRP.

    Nira (To the forum): Ladies and Gentlemen. We have agreed that the butt stops here. Let us depart in peace.

    All: Amen.

    Exit all, except Sharmila.

    Sharmila types on her blog…

    The Games Dutt Plays…

    Leaked audio clips of a conversation between Dutt and Nira Radia are now doing the rounds on…

  14. Worse than these tapes is the blackout of this news by the mainstream Indian media. This blog sums it up,

  15. All of u need to read this :
    Barkha has chose to answer only ‘some’ of her allegations ..:) and she expects us to believe , she has not met A Raja ..aha ..i am just praying that some other ‘tehelka’ tapes will do the rounds flashing the meeting between them..We should think twice before relying on any news provided by this news channels ..who knows the likes of Barkha’s are still lurking behind 🙂

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