Tag Archives: M.K. Venu

Niira Radia, Mukesh Ambani, NDTV & Prannoy Roy

In conversation number #132 in the infamous Niira Radia tapes, the lobbyist whose name has become synonymous with the 2G scam, talks to M.K. Venu, then of The Economic Times, in July 2009:

Venu: Is Manoj (Modi) is here (in Delhi) today also, no?

Radia: Yeah, he is here, he is leaving in the afternoon, later part of the afternoon. We are meeting Prannoy (Roy of NDTV) today. We need to support Prannoy, you know… We feel it needs to be supported.

Now, the penny drops.

Money Life, the personal finance magazine run by the investigative journalist Sucheta Dalal, reports that the American investment firm D.E. Shaw has picked up a 14.2% stake in NDTV, providing an exit to another blue chip investor, Goldman Sachs, which held an equivalent stake.

Reports Money Life:

“Interestingly, the D.E. Shaw investment in NDTV has happened in less than two weeks since it joined hands with Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) to enter the Indian financial services sector. Now we know that Mukesh Ambani has a soft spot for NDTV’s promoters and anchors and that they had previously approached him for an investment.”

Manoj Modi is Mukesh Ambani’s Man Friday. Niira Radia represented Mukesh Ambani and counted NDTV Imagine among her many clients before the 2G scam broke.

M.J. Akbar‘s Sunday Guardian reported in March that Radia was behind the January 2010 launch of a book by bureaucrat-turned-politician N.K. Singh in London, for which Ambani, Venu and NDTV’s Barkha Dutt travelled together on the same plane.

Read the full article: NDTV continues to find buyers

Listen to the conversation: #132 M.K. Venu: July 09, 2009


An intimation of mortality from Raghav Bahl

CNBC-TV18 bossman Raghav Bahl managed to secure the “first interview” with Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee after he presented his budget on Monday, although Mukherjee had appeared before Financial Express managing editor M.K. Venu for Lok Sabha TV hours earlier.

At the end of the 30-minute pow-wow, Bahl dragged in his hobby-horse, China, and quoted from a recent Citi report that by 2050, India would be the world’s biggest economy.

The minister happily answered the query with a smile.

“On that optimistic note, let us….” said Bahl.

At that juncture, Mukherjee, 77, intervened and added helpfully that he would not be around then.

Non-plussed, Bahl continued: ‘On that optimistic note, thank you very much….”

(Update: sans serif is happy to acknowledge readers who say Raghav Bahl went on to complete the sentence.)

Also read: What Raghav Bahl could learn from Samir Jain

‘If we don’t get it first, why should we want it?’

One more claimant for the 2G spectrum scam

It is the year of the lord, 2011, but it is still not too late to claim credit for the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

Nearly a week after the disgraced telecom minister A. Raja was arrested, marking the end of the beginning of the scam, today’s Indian Express carries a five-ad campaign saluting its sister business daily, The Financial Express, for its role in busting the scandal that takes a new dimension every single day.

Using headlines from pieces carried by it in the October 2009 to November 2010 period, the low-circulation FE proclaims its punchline: “It pays to know before those in the know”.

Two FE reporters— associate editor Rishi Raj and senior special correspondent Anandita Sigh Manhotia—get their spot under the sun for the stories, as indeed does FE managing editor M.K. Venu for an opinion piece.

# 2009: The Financial Express exposes the 2G scam

# October 24, 2009: “DoT deviated from TRAI’s notes and cherry-picked its counsel”

# October 26, 2009: “Raja faced objections from then DoT secy Mathur

# November 6, 2009: “CBI now exposes procedural lapse by telecom dept”

# November 9 and 12, 2009: “Raja tweaked norms to help Swan, Unitech”; “Spectrum of Raja’s innocence”

# November 16, 2010: CAG indictment nails Raja’s lies

Those who came in late will be pleased to know that (so far), The Pioneer, The Times of India, CNN-IBN and Times Now have put their hands up.

Mail Today had crowned Janata Party president Subramaniam Swamy and rediff.com chose the (BJP-aligned) member of Parliament, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, for exposing the scam that now seems to have reached outer space with the S-band scam reported by The Hindu and its business daily, Business Line.

Image: courtesy The Indian Express

Also read: Everybody loves (to claim credit for) an expose

Times Now. Times Now. Times Now. Times Now.

Journalist’s house raided in 2G scam

Nakkheeran journo denies wife worked for Radia

Have Tatas blacklisted The Times of India again?

The Pioneer journalist who brought A. Raja to book