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Former Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata today told the Supreme Court that the tapped telephonic conversations between corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and top politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen, including himself, were leaked to the media because of corporate rivalry.
"This order for tapping was passed because of extraneous reasons. If corporate battle had not happend, this would not have come out in public," senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Tata, said adding "I do not have any doubt that the original leak happened because of corporate rivalry".
Salve told an apex court bench that Tata Telecommunication itself gets around 10,000 to 15,100 requests from the government every year for interception of calls and questioned the Centre for not finding out who leaked the tapped conversation.
"Tata Telecom itself gets around 10 to 15 thousand requests per year for interception of call. The total number of such requests must be around 60-70 thousand per year for all telecom companies," Salve told the bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi.
The bench, also comprising justice V Gopala Gowda, said that "in the instant case, recording was done at the instance of the income tax department and at the same time by some service provider at the risk of losing the licence".
Salve submitted there is no proper mechanism to go through tapped conversations to find out the relevant information and destroy those parts which are private in nature. Salve also raised question on the probe agency saying "the investigating agency used the media, which is a very dangerous trend".
"We don't know why it (Radia tape) was leaked and to embarrass whom," he submitted.
"The government should keep the relevant portion (of the tape) with itself but should have destroyed rest of them. It is not allowed to keep the entire tapped conversation. People's right to privacy has to be protected," he said. Salve said the review committee is overloaded and it is not possible for it to go through the entire process for all intercepted calls.
"There are many like the present one which have not come into light. Who is looking at all these cases? Are we allowing the dynamite to be used at different times by not destroying the tapped conversation which is of no use for the government authorities"? he said.
He pleaded an inquiry be done by the Centre into the leak which is completely of "exculpating nature" and there is inconsistency in the affidavit filed by