Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Radia tapes tampered: Centre tells SC

Radia tapes tampered: Centre tells SC
In a significant disclosure, the Union govt told the Supreme Court that the Radia tapes broadcast by media organisations were tampered with and the government agencies were not responsible for its leakage.

Placing a confidential report in a sealed envelope before a bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi on Tuesday, the government said there were eight to ten agencies, including service providers, involved in the tapping of telephonic conversation of former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia.

The bench went through a few initial pages of the report which stated there was tampering with the conversations which were released by media.

The report says the starting and the end point of the conversation do not match with the original tapes, Justice Singhvi said referring to the report.

He said the report also says that officers, who had conducted the probe, do not know who has leaked it.

"It is quite possible that someone else has done it," the bench said on Tuesday.

Earlier in 2010, the government, while maintaining that the issues raised by Tata group chief Ratan Tata in his petition relating to the Radia tapes leak required probe, had turned down his plea for taking steps to stop publication of the leaked transcripts in the media.

In February 2011, the government had submitted to the apex court a copy of a complaint on basis of which it had began tapping Radia's telephonic conversations with several people including politicians, corporate leaders and media persons.

The complaint was given to the court in compliance with its 13th December 2010 order, passed on Tata's plea for a probe into the leakage of tapes containing his private conversation with Radia and for stopping further publication of its contents.

The government had told the court that it had begun tapping Radia's telephone on a complaint alleging that she was indulging in anti-national activities and was acting as spy of foreign intelligence agencies.

It had maintained that conversations were recorded as part of the surveillance ordered by the Directorate General of Income Tax (Investigation) following a complaint received by the Finance Minister on 16th November 2007 alleging that Radia had within a short span of nine years built up a business empire worth Rs 300 crore.

The government had given details of as to how 180 days of Radia's conversations were recorded -- first from 20th August 2008 onwards for 60 days and then from 19th October for another 60 days.

Later on 11th May 2009, her phone was put on surveillance for yet another 60 days, following a fresh order given on 8th May. (DD-31.1)


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