Controversial high-profile corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, who until recently enjoyed easy access to the corridors of power in the capital and boasted of the Tata group, Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and leading real estate firm Unitech as her top clients, has decided to wind up her public relations (PR) business.
The Tata Group has appointed Rediffusion, led by Arun Nanda, to manage public relations and public affairs for the Tata Group of companies from November 1, 2011, the Group said in a statement.
According to Tata Group sources they had received a mail from Ratan Tata's office on Saturday evening, which stated that its contract with Vaishnavi Communications for PR activities has not been renewed. "I think the same is the case with Mukesh Ambani's RIL for which Vaishnavi did PR activities. These two were its major clients. With both quitting it, it is forced to shut shop," said a top corporate official.
"These companies were looking for a right time to exit Vaishnavi after it got entangled and their names surfaced following the expose of the Niira Radia tapes," said an industry official.
According to industry observers, "The fact that she had become discredited in the media would have made it difficult for her to have the same kind of access to political and bureaucratic circles as she enjoyed earlier. This would naturally have driven her major clients away from her." However, a Reliance Industries spokesperson said, "We regret the decision of Niira Radia to discontinue her association with the business of communications consultancy and not renew any of her client mandates. Radia leaves behind a very capable team and an indelible mark on the communications consultancy business."
Radia in her statement on Sunday said, "To give precedence to my personal priorities of family and health, I have decided against renewing any client mandates and to exit the business of communications consultancy."
"It is a painful decision, taken after much consideration and consultations," the statement added.
The 51-year-old Radia, owner of the Vaishnavi Group, ran into a major controversy over taped conversations in connection with the 2G spectrum allocation, which has landed former telecom minister A. Raja and his DMK colleague Kanimozi in jail.
The fact that Radia had engaged recently retired bureaucrats like the former chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) and disinvestment secretary Pradip Baijal in her business was also a reflection of the formidable clout she enjoyed with powerful bureaucrats.
The announcement comes nearly a year after leaked tapes of her conversations, which included efforts to lobby for getting A. Raja the telecom minister's berth in the new UPA government surfaced in the media.
With real estate major Unitech emerging as a major beneficiary in the 2G scam, Radia had been grilled by investigative agencies because of her proximity with Raja. Senior Unitech honchos are now cooling their heels in Tihar jail and facing trial in the 2G scam.
CBI and other investigating agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) questioned Radia several times to ascertain her alleged involvement in irregularities in the 2G telecom scam and also her close association with political leaders, top corporate managers and senior journalists.
Although no charge has been filed against her, she was named as a witness by the investigating agency.
The taped conversations had also revealed the strong influence that Radia wielded over some prominent journalists and was virtually dictating editorial articles to the editor of a leading English daily.
Radia, in an internal mail to all her employees, said, "For many years, a few with vested interests have been trying to cause harm to Vaishnavi and me personally."
"Till the recent past, I would fight back, survive and probably react. However, today, I want to give them their victory and let them savour it. If that makes them better human beings then I am happy to have brought in a positive change in them," the letter stated. Around 200 employees are on the rolls of the Vaishnavi group.
Courtesy: Mail Today