SC notice to Centre on plea for revealing Radia tapes content

Posted By: Pti
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New Delhi, Jan 24 (PTI) The Supreme Court today soughtthe Centre''s response on a plea for disclosure of the entirecontents of corporate lobbyists Niira Radia''s conversationwith politicians, journalists and corporate tycoons, whichwere tapped by government authorities.

A bench of justices G S Singhvi and S S Nijjar issuednotice to the Centre and adjourned the matter for furtherhearing on February 2.

The court passed the order on a petition filed bycivil society, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, seekingdisclosure of the entire 5,800 conversations Radia had withdifferent people, including ministers, journalists andcorporate honchos, saying that it was in public interest todisclose the contents as it might reveal corruption indifferent government departments.

The government had taped Radia''s telephonicconversation on a complaint to the Finance Ministry that shehad been allegedly indulging in anti-nationalactivities.(MORE) AAC RKS RAX

The petitioner also pleaded that disclosure of the contents of Radia tapes would be in immense public interest asit might expose the vicious cycle of corruption involving itsvarious stakeholders, including politicians, bureaucrats,corporate and business houses and even scribes.

The petitioner asserted that bringing Radia tapes tothe public domain might expose corruption in high places.

In the course of tapping Radia''s conversation, thegovernment had also recorded her conversation withindustrialist Ratan Tata, who too has moved court seeking itsdirection to the government to probe leakage of the part ofRadia tapes containing his conversation.

Tata had move the court against leakage of hisconversation with Radia, saying that it violated his right toprivacy, linked to his Fundamental Right of Life with dignity.

"Petitioner (Tata) is seriously concerned about thelackadaisical attitude of the government on standing by andallowing purloined material of this kind to be freelydistributed and published without taking any step to retrieveit or to find out the source of leakage," Tata had said in hisaffidavit to the apex court, filed in response to thegovernment''s reply to his plea for probing the leakage of histalks with Radia.

He had said failure to protect his tappedconversations from being leaked and letting it reach outsiders"was not a matter of many great moments in law".

Tata pointed out that the Centre''s affidavit to theapex court "gives the impression that it is the perception ofthe government that while protecting such wiretap material isrequired by the rules, the failure to safeguard such materialleaking out and reaching the hands of outsiders does notwarrant any step on the part of the government to retrieveit" or to probe as to how the leak occured.

Tata has also expressed reservations over the growingpractise of intercepting telephonic conversation ofindividuals to probe cases involving violation of tax lawswhile the provision was originally used only to investigateserious offences involving the security of the state.

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