Inside the networks of lobbyists and power brokers that dictate how this country is run.
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,