Name officers who will scan Radia tapes: SC

New Delhi, Feb 13 (IANS) The Supreme Court Wednesday sought the names of officers of the CBI, Income Tax department and Enforcement Directorate who would scan the transcripts of former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia's telephone intercepts.

The investigators would ascertain if there was anything in the transcripts that attracted action under law.

The apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya asked Additional Solicitor General Harin Raval to give the names of five Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officers who would go through the transcripts and prepare subject-wise, ministry-wise and time-wise reports for the consideration of the court.

The court also asked Raval to give names of the officers from the Income Tax department and Enforcement Directorate who would be involved in the exercise.

Raval told the court that he would give the list to the court Thursday.

The court said it would pass its order on setting up of the team Feb 21. The court was hearing NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation's plea seeking a direction to make the contents of the transcripts public.

Senior Counsel Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, earlier suggested that the court may appoint a multi-agency task force to go through the transcript of the Radia tapes to ascertain if there was anything that attracted criminal prosecution.

Opposing the suggestion, Raval told the court that the CBI proposed to set up a team of five officers to go through the transcripts which run into 12,000 pages.

As court said that "any (portion) of the transcript going to public is absolutely ruled out and (if it happens) we will take a serious view", Raval said that if the task was left to "one organization (CBI) then I take full responsibility".

Bhushan said the CBI had often taken a stand that their hands were full and could not take up more cases and wondered why they were "anxious to take up such an enormous burden".

He said that even two years after registering the first information report (FIR) in the 2G case the CBI had done did nothing. This prompted Justice Singhvi to observe: "Why repeat it. We all know it."

Radia and her associates' phones were put under surveillance by the Income Tax department after the home ministry received an anonymous letter alleging her foreign connection and her spectacular rise in a short span of few years.

Following the letter, the Income Tax department was asked to investigate the matter. The intercepts of Radia's telephones unearthed the 2G scam.


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