Leaked Radia tapes doctored, apex court told (Lead)

January 31st, 2012 - 10:49 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 31 (IANS) If somebody discusses bribing a public servant - is that a private conversation, the Supreme Court Tuesday asked industrialist Ratan Tata while the government said that the versions published in the media of the controversial conversations of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia did not match the original tapes.

The court was informed by the government in a report given in a sealed cover in the course of the hearing of a petition by industrialist Ratan Tata.

The Tata group chairman contended that though his phone was not tapped his privacy was violated because his conversations with Radia were recorded. He sought a probe into the leak of Radia’s tapped conversations.

The report was submitted by the home ministry on a notice by the apex court on Tata’s plea.

Radia’s telephones were put under surveillance after the ministry received a letter saying that in a short period of few years the corporate lobbyist amassed huge wealth and allegedly had foreign connections.

Going through the report, the apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya observed that the conversations might have been edited.

The report said that the starting and the end point of the conversation did not match with the original tapes available with the Income Tax authorities.

The report submitted by the union home ministry said there were discrepancies in the length of the tapes and the nature of the conversations. The government also denied that the taped conversations were leaked by any of its agencies.

The government said in the report that there were eight to 10 agencies, including telecom service providers, involved in the tapping of the telephonic conversations of Radia.

In the course of the hearing, the court asked senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for Tata, to show from the taped conversations’ transcripts as to which part was private.

When Rohtagi said that all of them were private, the court asked him if somebody discusses bribing a public servant, is that also a private conversation.

The senior counsel reiterated that all telephonic conversation were private in nature.

The government has identified one service provider who was providing services in each of the case where tapes were leaked.

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