The Centre on Tuesday opposed before the Supreme Court a demand to make certain portions of the Niira Radia tapes public. It said the interceptions of the phone lines of the former corporate lobbyist amounted to interference with a person’s right to privacy in extraordinary situations and hence could not be made public now.
The government also said that segregation of the tapes into various categories was contentious, apart from very difficult.
Senior advocate L N Rao told a Bench led by Justice G S Singhvi that no part of the tapes should be made public in the name of public interest since there was a larger public interest involved in keeping them secret. He also submitted that the tapes were not destroyed as per the relevant rules only because the matter was pending before the court.
Meanwhile, the Bench raised questions over the CBI not acting on its own and investigating the matter although the very first tapped conversation indicated issues of national security, involving cross-border hawala transactions. It maintained that despite having some of these transcripts from 2010, the CBI had not started a probe on its own and it was still saying that it would do so only if the Bench so desired.
“The issues are becoming more and more intricate. CBI looked into only two aspects in these tapes, telecom and money laundering. But there are indeed aspects of national security. It has become a very serious issue as to why the CBI did not investigate earlier,” observed the Bench.
The court also directed an in-camera hearing on Thursday after it was noted that there were certain transcripts and inquiry reports that could not be read out in an open court.