Friday, June 21, 2013

2G scam: CBI finds no ‘criminality’ in Radia tapes

New Delhi: In a big relief to former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, CBI and income tax department will shortly tell the Supreme Court that they have found no element of “criminality” in the transcripts of her taped conversations. The two agencies have jointly transcribed the conversations, recorded in connection with the 2G spectrum scam, over a period of three months.

A top official told TOI, “We have completed the work of transcribing 5,800 tapes of tapped conversations of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, as directed by the Supreme Court.”

The six-member team of CBI and I-T department began its work of examining the tapes of Radia with politicians, corporate honchos and others in April. The team, headed by a deputy inspector general-rank officer, had started the process of going through the tapes and its transcripts running into 49 volumes as per the directions of Supreme Court in February.

An apex court bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya, while directing formation of the team on February 22, had given four months for it to submit its report. The team’s job was to scrutinize the tapes to ascertain if there were any elements of ‘criminality’ in them. Sources said they limited themselves to those conversations, which pertained to criminal element and relating to interest of justice.

A few tapes, which found its way to media houses, triggered a political storm as some of the conversations showed the nature of corporate lobbying and its purported impact on politics. The income tax department had placed transcripts of 5,800 tapped telephone conversations in sealed envelopes in the court. They were recorded as part of surveillance of Radia’s phones on a complaint to the finance minister on November 16, 2007 alleging that within a span of nine years, she had built up a business empire worth over Rs 300 crore.

The I-T department had recorded 180 days of Radia’s conversations -- first from August 20, 2008 onwards for 60 days and then from October 19 for another 60 days. Later, on May 11, 2009, her phone was again put on surveillance for another 60 days following a fresh order given on May 8.
Neeraj Chauhan TNN

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