No criminality found in Radia conversations, CBI tells SC | The Financial Express

No criminality found in Radia conversations, CBI tells SC

She told the court that the issue raised by Ratan Tata in his petition, seeking right to privacy, is now covered by the Supreme Court’s 2017 judgment declaring right to privacy as a fundamental right. As such, nothing survives in Tata’s petition, she added. The CBI is expected to file the latest status report before the court takes up the matter in October.

No criminality found in Radia conversations, CBI tells SC
Transcripts of some of these taped conversations were reproduced in various magazines, newspapers and websites, stirring a controversy over the alleged nexus between lobbyists, politicians, bureaucrats and journalists in 2013.

The CBI on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that no criminality has been found in the conversations of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, recorded by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) during 2008-09, with various people, including politicians, industrialists, lawyers and journalists.

Transcripts of some of these taped conversations were reproduced in various magazines, newspapers and websites, stirring a controversy over the alleged nexus between lobbyists, politicians, bureaucrats and journalists in 2013.

Additional solicitor-general Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the CBI, apprised a bench led by Justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud about a sealed-cover report submitted by the agency in 2015, regarding the outcome of the court-ordered probe. “No criminality has been found during the investigation. A sealed cover report has been submitted to the court and the outcome of the investigation has also been forwarded to the departments concerned,” Bhati argued, adding that the outcome of the investigation has also been forwarded to the departments concerned.

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She told the court that the issue raised by Ratan Tata in his petition, seeking right to privacy, is now covered by the Supreme Court’s 2017 judgment declaring right to privacy as a fundamental right. As such, nothing survives in Tata’s petition, she added. The CBI is expected to file the latest status report before the court takes up the matter in October.

While Ratan Tata had moved the SC seeking probe into leak of the tapes on the grounds of violating his right to privacy, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, an NGO, led by counsel Prashant Bhushan, had pleaded for disclosure of the tapes in the public interest. Tata had also sought a probe into who had leaked the excerpts from the intercepts and a mechanism in place to guard against such indiscriminate invasion into a citizen’s privacy.

On July 31, 2013, the CBI, represented by then additional solicitor-general Paras Kuhad, had confirmed criminality in the Radia tapes case. He had said that the agency was willing to start a probe and had handed over a summary of the analysis of 5,800 taped conversations of Radia that were originally intercepted by the government between 2008 and 2009, as part of an investigation into tax evasion.

The court had then ordered a CBI investigation in 2013 into various contentious conversations, referring to the “deep-rooted malice” and “connivance” of private entrepreneurs with government officials for illegal gains. The CBI subsequently lodged 14 preliminary enquires.

The instant case was last heard in April 2014, when the top court crystallised the issues — right to privacy vis-a-vis the government; right to privacy vis-a-vis the media; and the right to information.

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