The Supreme Court on Thursday said the intercepted calls of former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia had security implications and directed the income-tax department to prepare transcripts of the 2,800 telephone conversations for its perusal. The transcripts have to be submitted to the court within two months.
“There are more conversations. Some of them are of serious concern and have security implication for the nation. Some of the tapes are of highly dubious financial transaction. More needs to be done,” said a bench of justice GS Singhvi and justice SJ Mukopadhyaya, hinting the government had failed to take appropriate action after tapping the conversations.
Radia's conversation with various business leaders and politicians were recorded on the complaint of the finance ministry against her. Some of them found their way into media. The leaked tapes exposed the irregularities in the allotment of the scarce 2G spectrum.
The court made its observations while considering income-tax department's probe report against Radia. It expressed dissatisfaction at the report and threw questions at the Centre's counsel: “What has IT done? What action have you taken? There are no details here.” The bench then asked for the transcripts to which additional solicitor general Amarjit Singh Chandiok said there were none. He said the IT department never transcribed tapes but just heard them.
“Unless you have the transcript how will we proceed. There are hundreds of officers in your department, how will they conduct an investigation if asked to. Will they sit and hear the tapes,” the court asked Chandiok.
It directed the director general of the I-T department to constitute a team to prepare the transcripts and submit them to court within two months.