Government orders probe into Radia tape leaks

Monday, November 29, 2010

NEW DELHI - The government Monday ordered a probe into the leaks of conversations between corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and leading businessmen, politicians and journalists.

The order on the probe came on a day when Tata group chairman Ratan Tata moved the Supreme Court seeking judicial restraint on the publication of transcripts of phone intercepts of Radia on grounds of right to privacy.

Home ministry sources said the probe would be conducted by the Intelligence Bureau and the Central Board for Direct Taxes (CBDT) and will focus on finding out who leaked the conversations and how.

They said CBDT had conducted the phone tappings over a period of time for which the sanction was given by the home ministry.

The tapes had come into limelight after two weekly magazines published excerpts from transcripts of the conversations.

The petition moved by Tata Monday was similar to what had been filed by Radia herself in the Delhi High Court that, in May, had declined to restrain the telecast of a similar set of wiretaps by a TV channel on the ground that the people of the country had a right to know the truth.

Tata’s petition contended that the publication of intercepts violated his right to privacy. The reference was to the transcript of 5,851 purported conversations Radia had with different people during the period of the wiretap.

Tatas’s petition made the director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the director general of Income Tax and Union of India respondents.

At the same time, the government’s right to intercept telephone calls was not being questioned, he said. Radia was questioned last week by the Enforcement Directorate.

Filed under: Politics

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