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Premature to call Niira Radia a spy: Pranab

Source: PTI
December 12, 2010 01:13 IST
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The government on Saturday said it will be premature to make a judgment on whether corporate lobbyist Niira Radia was a spy or not, until the probe is completed in the matter.

"Until the investigation is complete, the judicial process is complete and the court gives its verdict, who can sit in judgment," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in Mumbai when asked whether Radia was a spy.

His comment assumes importance in the backdrop of an affidavit filed by the government in the Supreme Court, where it was stated that Radia's phones were tapped following complaints of her being a foreign spy and she building up a business empire of Rs 300 crore in a short span of nine years.

The affidavit was filed in connection with industrialist Ratan Tata's plea to the SC seeking steps by the government to stop the publication in the media of the leaked transcripts of tapped conversations between him, his corporate lobbyist Radia and others.

In the affidavit filed on Friday in the SC, the government had said that it was alleged that Radia was an agent of foreign intelligence agencies and she was indulging in anti-national activities.

The government said that conversations were recorded as part of the surveillance ordered by the directorate general of income tax (investigation) following a complaint received by the FM on November 16, 2007, alleging that Radia had within a short span of nine years built up a business empire worth Rs 300 crore.

Meanwhile, Radia's public relations firm said in a statement that vested corporate interests were trying to harm it with a malicious and derogatory campaign since 2007.

 "Various queries seem to arise from a case which is subjudice before the SC to which we are not a party. We have complete faith in the investigative and judicial process of the country. However it may be stated that in 2007, certain vested corporate interests had circulated an inadmissible and forged letter with malicious, baseless and derogatory content," a Vaishnavi Corporate Communications spokesperson said.

"We had categorically denied the baseless allegations to the media in 2007. The forgery of such a document was also shared with the media then," he added.

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