The government on Saturday said it will be premature to make a judgement on whether corporate lobbyist Niira Radia was a spy or not, until the probe is completed in the matter.
"Until the investigation is complete, the judicial process is complete and the Court gives its verdict, who can sit in judgement," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said here this evening when asked whether Radia was a spy.
Mukherjee's comment assumes importance in the backdrop of an affidavit filed by the government in the Supreme Court, where it was stated that Radia's phones were tapped following complaints of her being a foreign spy and she building up a business empire of Rs 300 crore in a short span of nine years.
The affidavit was filed in connection with industrialist Ratan Tata's plea to the Supreme Court seeking steps by the government to stop the publication in the media of the leaked transcripts of tapped conversations between him, his corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and others.
In the affidavit filed yesterday in the Supreme Court, the government had said that it was alleged that Radia was an agent of foreign intelligence agencies and she was indulging in anti-national activities.
The government said that conversations were recorded as part of the surveillance ordered by the Directorate General of Income Tax (Investigation) following a complaint received by the Finance Minister on November 16, 2007, alleging that Radia had within a short span of nine years built up a business empire worth Rs 300 crore.
Meanwhile, Radia's public relations firm Vaishnavi said in a statement that "vested corporate interests" were trying to harm it with a malicious and derogatory campaign since 2007.
"Various queries seem to arise from a case which is subjudice before the Hon’ble Supreme Court to which we are not a party. We have complete faith in the investigative and judicial process of the country.
"However it may be stated that in 2007, certain vested corporate interests had circulated an inadmissible and forged letter with malicious, baseless and derogatory content," a Vaishnavi Corporate Communications spokesperson said.
"We had categorically denied the baseless allegations to the media in 2007. The forgery of such a document was also shared with the media then," the spokesperson said.
Vaishnavi further said that "the Government and the investigative agencies would verify the antecedents of the complaint received and this will amply establish that all allegations against Radia to be false and motivated.
"We hope that the forces working overtime to harm us will be duly identified and punished."
"Ms Radia and Vaishnavi yet again reiterate their commitment to cooperate fully and completely with the Government Agencies in their ongoing investigations on issues related to the telecom sector," Vaisnavi said.