‘Investigation into Radia tapes not complete yet’

Saturday, December 11, 2010

NEW DELHI - A probe into the taped conversations of corporate lobbyist Nira Radia triggered by complaints of her alleged links with foreign intelligence outfits and amassing of Rs.300 crore in nine years is not over yet, the apex court has been told.

In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, an additional director of income tax department’s investigations wing, Sushil Kumar, said there was also no question of destroying the recorded conversations of Radia since investigations were not over yet.

The affidavit said that the phones of Radia and her associates were tapped for 60 days in the first instance from Aug 20, 2008, and extended for 60 days from Oct 19. In 2009, her phones were tapped again for 60 days beginning May 11.

“There was no question of the destruction of the records since investigations in respect of the action points emanating from the conversations have not yet been completed in the income tax department as well as other investigating agencies,” the affidavit said.

“I, however, would like to reiterate that secrecy and accuracy have been maintained,” he said, trying to assure that the leakage of the conversations — as reported in a section of the media — was not from his department.

“Nevertheless an inquiry into this matter is in progress and on the basis of the material which is available, there is no reason to believe that the telephone intercepts have been leaked from the income tax department,” he said.

The affidavit also explained the process involved in ordering the wire tap.

“A complaint was received by the finance minister dated Nov 16, 2007, alleging Ms. Radia had in a short span of nine years built up a business empire worth Rs.300 crore, that she was an agent of foreign intelligence agencies, and that she was indulging in anti-national activities,” it said.

It was on this basis that the process was started to get her phones tapped.

The tapes are now a part of the evidence under scrutiny by the Supreme Court based on a public interest litigation, which wants the apex court to monitor cases against former communications minister Andimuthu Raja.

The apex court Friday declined to stay the publication of the leaked tapes.

According to the affidavit, analyses of the tapes also revealed that some conversations were “quite sensitive” and pertained to award of telecom licenses and second generation (2G) spectrum to companies. This was, accordingly, communicated to Intelligence Bureau.

Raja resigned as the communications minister Nov 7 after reports that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had indicted him in the 2G spectrum saga for causing a notional loss of billions of rupees while allocating the airwaves in 2008.

According to some media houses that published the transcripts of the leaked tapes, Radia had purportedly lobbied for Raja to retain his communications portfolio after the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was voted back to power in May 2009.

Filed under: Court, Immigration

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