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SC orders CBI probe into Radia tapes controversy

October 17, 2013 19:52 IST

Observing that tapped telephonic conversations between Niira Radia, politicians and others prima facie revealed "deep-rooted malice", the Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into six issues relating to corrupt practices being adopted for private gains.

"Prima facie, there is a deep rooted malice by private enterprises in connivance with the government officials and Niira Radia's conversations suggest that influential persons indulged in corrupt practices for private gains for extraneous purpose," a bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi said.

On the basis of analysis of the telephonic conversations of Radia, which was done by apex court-appointed committee, the bench directed the CBI to complete its probe within two months and asked it to file the report in the Supreme Court. However, the bench while reading out the order did not elaborate on the issues to be looked into by the agency. It noted the submission of the CBI, which had found element of criminality involved in them.

The bench referred one issue, which reportedly pertains to judiciary, to the Chief Justice of India to pass an appropriate order. It also referred another issue to the chief vigilance officer of the mines department. The court directed the committee to scrutinise the entire transcript of the tapped conversations and posted the matter for further directions on December 16. It also allowed the expansion of special team analyzing the transcripts by including 10 more income tax sub-inspectors.
Earlier, the bench had said scrutiny of the tapped conversations of Radia with business tycoon, politicians, bureaucrats and media persons has revealed that they were not restricted to 2G spectrum alone and throw light on different spheres.

The apex court, which perused the confidential reports of the committee, had said the scrutiny of call details reflect issues concerning national security.

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.

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