SC directs IT Dept to transcribe tapped conversation of Radia

Niira radia

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the income tax (IT) department, which had intercepted 5,800 telephone conversations of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, to get them transcribed within two months for a proper probe as some of them concern national security.

The court was annoyed that in such a "serious matter" the IT department has not prepared the transcript of all the intercepted calls, some of which relate to "dubious" fiscal transactions having impact on national security.

A Bench of justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya expressed unhappiness over the fact the probe into the incident was moving on the basis of the "analysis" of the

transcript provided by the income tax department to the CBI.

When Additional Solicitor General Haren Raval made it clear that the transcript of the entire 5,800 intercepted conversations of Radia was not done, the bench said "it will be appropriate that conversation should be transcribed. Otherwise everything will proceed on the basis of surmises and conjectures."

The court directed the Directorate General of Income Tax (Investigation), who had ordered the tapping of phones of Radia and constituted a team of officers for the job, to get the conversation transcribed and submit complete compilation of conversation within two months in a sealed cover," the bench said.

The bench passed the order after going through the summary of the probe provided by the Government and the fresh status reports into the investigation filed in sealed covers by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate.

During the hearing, the bench termed as "vague" the reply of another Additional Solicitor General A S Chandhiok that the probe was on into the leakage of the recorded conversation of Radia with Tata Group Chief Ratan Tata and others.

It said three years have gone and the IT department has not prepared the transcripts of the tapped conversation. "You (Income tax department) should not have taken three years," the bench said adding that the authorities should understand that in law they have to prepare the transcripts as electronic evidence in its original form only was not

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