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In a relief to former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that no incriminating evidence was found in her taped conversations with politicians, industrialists, journalists and government officials.
The court was hearing a writ petition filed by industrialist Ratan Tata, who had demanded an investigation into the leak of audio tapes, saying they violated his right to privacy. The court had ordered a CBI inquiry into the audio tapes involving Radia in 2013.
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the CBI, told the Bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, P S Narasimha, and Hima Kohli that the outcome of the court-ordered investigation by the CBI was submitted in 2015 in a sealed cover report.
“No criminality has been found during the investigation. A sealed cover report has been submitted to the court and the investigation report has also been forwarded to the departments concerned,” Bhati submitted before the court.
The CBI is expected to file a status report before the court takes up the matter on October 12. Bhati suggested that the writ petition may be dismissed as the K S Puttaswamy judgment has already held that privacy is a constitutional right.
“I must inform you that the CBI was ordered by this court to look into the case. Fourteen preliminary inquiries were registered and no criminality was found in the sealed cover report. Now the phone-tapping guidelines are also in place,” she said.
Meanwhile, the counsel for Tata sought an adjournment in the case.
The court was also informed that there was another petition by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation(CPIL), seeking to make the transcripts of these tapes available for the public interest.
In October 2013, the apex court directed the CBI to examine fourteen issues that were identified after examining the transcripts of over 5,800-odd conversations of Radia with industrialists, politicians, lawyers, and journalists. The conversations were taped by the Income Tax Department between 2008 and 2009, for an investigation into tax evasion.
Ordering a probe in 2013, the Supreme Court said: “The conversations are indicative of the deep-rooted malice by private enterprises in connivance with government officials and others for extraneous purposes.”
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First Published: Wed, September 21 2022. 22:04 IST