Niira Radia, Lobbyist Free from Clutches of CBI

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has given a clean chit to corporate lobbyist Niira Radia over her alleged taped conversations with prominent politicians, businessmen and media persons.

The CBI had initiated 14 preliminary enquiries (PE) to probe the contents of the eight thousand odd phone conversations taped by the Income Tax Department as part of an inquiry over a decade ago.

While ordering a probe in 2013, the Supreme Court said: “The conversations are indicative of the deep-rooted malice by private enterprises in connivance with government officials and others for extraneous purposes. Interested persons have secured gains from government officers and others which are suggestive of corrupt means being adopted by private parties to extract gains.’’

Additional solicitor general Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for CBI, apprised a bench headed by justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud about a sealed cover report submitted by the agency in 2015 regarding the outcome of the court-ordered probe. The matter wasn’t taken up by the court all these years.

“No criminality has been found during the investigation. A sealed cover report has been submitted to the court and the outcome of the investigation has also been forwarded to the departments concerned,” Bhati submitted before the bench, which also included justices PS Narasimha and Hima Kohli.

Now, all 14 PEs have been closed as no case was made out.

Niira Radia had landed in controversy following the leak of alleged taped conversations between her and her clients in connection with the 2G scam.Subsequently, she wound up her PR business comprising Vaishnavi Corporate Communications and its entities, which handled various high-roller clients including the Tata Group and Reliance Industries.

The conversations were recorded as part of surveillance of Radia’s phone on a complaint to the then Finance Minister on November 16, 2007, alleging that within nine years she had built up a business empire worth Rs 300 crore.