Income Tax tapes raise suspicions on media links to scam

The new revelations by the Income Tax department of the conversations media persons had with political lobbyists suggest connections of the murky scam extending to the media.

The 104 taped phone conversations, part of which have been published in two English magazines and by several other publications, have shown the extent to which DMK MPs have used the media to lobby for cabinet positions after the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

The conversations prominently involve Niira Radia, a known lobbyist, who had been in constant conversations with prominent journalists such as Barkha Dutt, Vir Sanghvi and  M K Venu. “What do you want me to tell them (the Congress) ? Tell me. I’ll talk to them,” Dutt is quoted  as saying in her conversations with Radia.

Similarly, Sanghvi was quoted as saying: “ Who do you want Congress to talk to ? Karunanidhi? I’ll speak to Ahmed Patel” ( Political secretary to Congress President).
Senior business journalist M K  Venu is  reportedly advising  Radia who apparently is in possession of  a letter of Andhra Chief Minister written to Prime Minister. “Give your story to a paper which will carry it as a lead flyer. Isko CNBC ko do”, the conversations quotes him as saying.

The taped conversations also quoted Ranjan Bhattacharya’s foster son-in-law telling Radia “Mukesh said, Haan yaar Ranjan, Congress to ab apni dukaan hai”. The transcript also catches Radia in conversation with Chairman, TATA Sons, Ratan Tata with the latter saying “ I am surprised Raja after all you did for him is playing this game.”

Media persons quoted in the conversations said such talks feature in their every day job and denied any suggestion of a scandal. Radia has also rejected suggestions of wrong doing.

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