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SC begins in-camera proceedings in Radia tapes case

August 29, 2013 13:56 IST

The Supreme Court on Thursday began in-camera proceedings in the former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia phone tapping case for knowing the Centre's stand and perusing "top secret" documents which formed the basis for interception of her calls.

A bench of justices G S Singhvi and V Gopala Gowda had on August 27 decided to hold in-camera proceedings barring lawyers, other than government counsel and its officers including from CBI and Income Tax Department, and media persons from the hearing.

Although in-camera proceedings are normal in trial courts in sensitive cases, in the Supreme Court this is the second time that such hearing is being conducted in recent years. The last time such a proceeding took place in the apex court was in the hawala case in 1996.

The apex court had decided on in-camera hearing after it found that many controversial and sensitive information and names of people figure in the various reports disclosure of which in public domain could harm national interest and could tarnish the image of people till they were established.

Today's in-camera proceedings will be confined to the bench perusing the government's confidential report and the Centre's submission on the issue.

The conversations were recorded as part of surveillance of Radia's phone on a complaint to the Finance Minister on November 16, 2007 alleging that within a span of nine years she had built up a business empire worth Rs 300 crore.

The conversations were recorded as part of surveillance of Radia's phone on a complaint to the Finance Minister on November 16, 2007 alleging that within a span of nine years she had built up a business empire worth Rs 300 crore.

The government had recorded 180 days of Radia's conversations -- first from August 20, 2008 onwards for 60 days and then from October 19 for another 60 days. Later, on May 11, 2009, her phone was again put on surveillance for another 60 days following a fresh order given on May 8.

The apex court had ordered setting up of a team of investigators to examine the contents of the conversations.

The court had perused the report and transcripts prepared by the special team of investigators and said that "some of the items highlighted will become the subject matter of investigation".

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