IT was before she changed her name, evidently on the advice of her astrologers, and added another “i” to it. But Mossack Fonseca (MF) documents, investigated by The Indian Express, show her name simply as Nira Radia and establish that the PR professional whose telephone intercepts became public in 2010 managed an offshore account.
Radia’s telephones were intercepted by the Income Tax Department in 2008-2009 and the publication of snatches of thousands of conversations with politicians, journalists, and lobbyists created a furore. They set off a debate of how lines were blurred in the establishment, the social circles she tapped to lobby for her clients with several Ministries of the UPA government.
Following “Radiagate,” several investigation agencies, including the Income Tax Department, commenced a probe into the corporate structure that she headed, led by her flagship company, Vaishnavi Communications, whose high-profile clients included Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries and Ratan Tata’s communication arm, Tata Teleservices.
Five years later, nothing much is heard of the probes —- despite the fact that the apex court monitored the investigation of the Central Bureau of Investigation —- and officials who continue to work with Radia claim she was just the subject of a witch-hunt.
Tracking Radia and her companies, IT investigators explored leads in about 10 countries to trace her purported offshore assets and accounts. Nothing was heard on this — until the Mossack Fonseka papers. An investigation of these papers shows the existence of one offshore entity owned by Radia, an International Business Company (IBC) registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) by Mossack Fonseka in 1994 named Crownmart International Group Limited. There are resolutions until June 2004 which are signed by her.
Records show the company was struck off the MF registers in 2009 and in March 2012, there is a mention of the company printed in the Virgin islands Official Gazette by the BVI Financial Services Commission stating that the company would be struck off records should they not appoint a Registered Agent within 30 days.
In all, there are 232 documents on the company in the MF files. These include the company’s incorporation documents; the share certificates in the names of the directors, including Radia herself. Radia is shown as a British citizen in these documents and, interestingly, it is publicly known that Radia had a company by the name of Crownmart International (India) pvt Ltd when in London which has been described as a “general business” enterprise set up by her.