NEW DELHI (TIP): The Supreme Court on August 29 widened the scrutiny to trace criminality in Radia tapes by ordering transcription of some more intercepts of conversations between former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and others for their analysis by a CBI team. During the nearly two-hour in-camera proceedings, a bench of Justices G S Singhvi and V Gopala Gowda kept the heat on the income tax department and the CBI for not investigating the ‘criminality’ reflected in some intercepts, which concerned national security and cross-border transactions. Additional solicitors general L Nageswar Rao and Paras Kuhad, appearing for the Union government and the CBI respectively, were asked several questions relating to the progress of investigation, if any, on the issues which raised eyebrows because of its bearing on national security.
The bench came across a cache of intercepts, possibly from the first round of interception in 2009 when 14 of Radia’s personal and office telephones were kept on surveillance, which had not yet been transcribed. Till now, the I-T department has transcribed 5,831 calls intercepted in three tranches, which ran into more than 100 hours. The transcripts have been submitted to the court in 51 volumes in sealed cover. The court directed the I-T department to reduce the non-transcribed tranche of intercepts into writing and give the transcripts to the team of CBI officers which had analyzed the transcripts of 5,831 calls and pointed out 10 categories of possible illegalities in the conversations. The court fixed further hearing on the issue on October 1 and wanted the CBI team to analyze it and give a report. During the hearing, only the ASGs and their juniors along with CBI’s 2G spectrum investigating officers and I-T department officials were allowed to be present inside the court room. The entry to court room No. 2 was heavily guarded by Delhi Police constables, who prevented other lawyers and litigants from entering.