The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Centre's stand on a plea for complete disclosure of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia's telephonic conversations with various public figures.
The tapes reportedly include her conversations with ministers and corporate czars, recorded by the government in 2008-09.
On the plea to reveal the Radia tapes, a bench of justices G S Singhvi and S S Nijjar issued a notice to the government and sought its response by February 2. The plea for disclosure of the entire content of Radia tapes was made by civil society Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), which in its petition named, besides former Telecom Minister A Raja and Tata conglomerate chief Ratan Tata, various politicians, ministers, bureaucrats and journalists as being only a phone call away from her.
The others whom the petitioner named as having had conversations with Radia included former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's foster son-in-law Ranjan Bhattacharya, Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi's wife Rajathi Ammal and his daughter Kanimozhi, DMK MP.
Yet others, who according to the petitions, had conversations with Radia included senior journalists Vir Sanghvi and Barkha Dutt, bureaucrat Sunil Arora and corporate honcho Tarun Dass, a former CII president.
The conversations touched on issues like cabinet berths, quid pro quo for securing lucrative government contracts and licenses in telecom sector, the petition said. They also included those relating to court rulings and planting news reports to mould public opinion, the petition pointed out.
The government had ordered taping of Radia's telephonc conversations following a complaint to the Finance Ministry that she had built up a business empire worth Rs 300 crore within a short span. The complaint also alleged she was an agent of foreign intelligence agencies and was indulging in anti-national activities.
"This petition aims to direct the luminosity of public gaze into the dark and hidden alleys of corruption, a malaise that has become deep-rooted and widely pervasive and seriously ails our country," the petitioner said. It said making public the entire content of the tapes would "reveal the way the Indian government is run by selling national interest for corporate greed and sacrificing long-term public interest for private lucre."