Niira Radia starts consultancy firm, stays away from publicity

Gurgaon: As Niira Radia ventures into her latest business, the former corporate lobbyist must be hoping for better luck in her new endeavour and (many) more blessings from the gods.

Even as her new nondescript office, with no signage outside of it, is still underway to begin a full scale operation, the most opulent detail at the former corporate lobbyist's new venture, Pegasus International Advisory, was reserved for Lord Ganesha: Sitting pretty on a three feet tall glass pedestal is a one and a half feet Ganesh idol in a sequined pink robe and orange dhoti, adorned with pearl strings and a garland of fully bloomed marigolds.

Modest beginning. Arlene Chang/Firstpost

After being dragged into the 2G controversy, following the leak of her conversations with high profile businessmen, ministers and journalists in connection with the allocation of 2G spectrum waves and lobbying, Radia is clearly in no mood to embrace publicity.

Her companies recently came under the scanner of the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) of the corporate affairs ministry. Her former clients of Radia's public relations business included business houses like the Tata Group of companies, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd and real estate major Unitech.

In a no frills, modest office space of around 6,000 square feet, the only sign of Pegasus' office in DLF Corporate Park being newly inaugurated, are faded ritualistic vermillion scribbles on the top of the office entrance.

SK Narula, director Pegasus International Advisory, told Firstpost that the office is still being set up and hence the low profile. Narula is one of the company directors and among other things, he has also been a former additional general manager at NTPC, executive director at the Power Grid Corporation and member of human resources and chairman at the Airports Authority of India. He along with Niira Radia and Yateesh Wahaal, an old associate of Radia from his days at Vaishnavi Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd., are the directors of the company.

While Pegasus presently has only 13 employees, according to Narula, the company is yet to pursue clients to work with. "We are first trying to set up our own house and then seek clients," he said in an interview to Firstpost.

According to Narula, the company will mainly be a market research and strategy consultant to its clients and will start off by specialising in the sectors of power, oil, telecom and aviation. "These sectors have a lot of potential and scope and since there are many investors who are interested but don't know how to go about investing in India, we can use our knowledge, advise them and tell them where the potential is. We will diversify as we go ahead," Narula said.

Pegasus International Advisory will look to clients from both within India and overseas, but hopes to mainly cater to foreign investors.

Narula is of the opinion that many foreign investors want to get into India but they don't because of the red tape. "There is a vacuum in the consultancy space in the aviation and power sectors and since we know the market, we can guide them, tell them what states to invest in, where they will get viable raw materials, logistics and better understand the laws and what is required to invest," he said.

Narula, who himself has 30 years experience in the power sector and seven years in aviation, says that each of the directors wanted to put to use their experience and expertise in the areas to help potential investors and clients to understand the market in each particular sector better.

While Radia, Narula and Wahaal are all promoters of the company, Radia is the majority owner of Pegasus International Advisory.

After being in the news for her conversations with high profile politicians, journalists and corporate honchos, after her tapes were leaked, Radia announced her exit from the business of communication consultancy last October. She was the owner and promoter of the Vaishnavi Group.

And while she was not charged in any capacity in the 2G scam case in which former telecom minister A Raja is prime accused, she was named witness in the case by the CBI, after her purported conversations of having lobbied for Raja to stay telecom minister following the 2009 General Elections.

While Vaishnavi Corporate Communications Pvt. Ltd. had to shut shop following Radia being dragged into the 2G muck, Radia must definitely be praying to Lord Ganesha to see her new venture through -- for longer and without controversies.

Updated Date: Dec 20, 2014 11:30 AM

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