Niira Radia — the formidably networked corporate lobbyist whose leaked telephone conversations with politicians, journalists and businessmen tarnished or destroyed the reputation, and even career, of many movers and shakers in the Capital, has decided to quit the public relations business.
In a statement on Sunday, Ms. Radia, whose top clients include the Tata group and Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Ltd., cited personal reasons for her decision. “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 which has been taken after much consideration and consultation with my family, doctors, clients and colleagues,” she said.
Efforts on to place employees elsewhere
She is the head of Vaishnavi Corporate Communications Pvt. Ltd. (VCCPL) and an associate of hers told The Hindu that the company was shutting down. Efforts are on to place its 200-odd employees elsewhere, with RIL already absorbing 30.
Though she made her reputation operating below the radar as a person who could get things done during the BJP-led NDA government, Ms. Radia came into the limelight in 2009 after it was alleged that she lobbied successfully for DMK politician A. Raja, now in the Tihar jail in the 2G spectrum scam, to get him the Telecom portfolio in the Congress-led UPA-II. It is also alleged that she influenced government decisions in favour of the Tata Group's communications business.
After the infamous ‘Radia tapes,' which contain long conversations between her and a raft of top corporate, political and media figures, were leaked, Ms. Radia came under the scrutiny of various law enforcement agencies, including the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate.
In an internal mail to all her employees, Ms. Radia 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.”