The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday pulled up the income tax department for failing to act on the information gathered from tapped phone conversations of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia five years ago.
The bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi wondered the purpose behind the interceptions if the agencies involved did not take any action on the information.
“The tapping was done five years ago, what have they (government authorities) done so far? Were they waiting for court’s order?” the bench asked.
The SC had on Wednesday hinted at a CBI inquiry into those portions of the conversations that have been found incriminating by a court-appointed committee.
As the I-T department passed the buck to CBI, claiming it had shared the information with the agency, the court directed the Centre to file an affidavit on whether the officer who had intercepted the conversations apprised his seniors about the criminality part of it.
The court also wants to know whether the CBI was informed about the incriminated conversations. It even directed the Centre to produce the original file related to the sanction given to tap Radia’s phone and fixed August 6 to hear the matter.
The conversations were recorded as part of surveillance of Radia’s phone on a complaint to the finance minister on November 16, 2007 alleging she had built up a business empire worth Rs 300 crore within nine years.