Radia tapes: SC asks CBI to probe corporates, tax officials
New Delhi: Favours allegedly shown to top corporate houses like Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Ltd, his brother Anil Ambani's ADAG group, Tatas, working of touts, kickbacks in aviation sector, manipulation of Unitech's stocks and illegal gratification paid to tax officers arising from Niira
Radia's taped conversations will be probed by the CBI, the Supreme Court has said.
Holding that the taped conversations suggests that "unscrupulous elements have used corrupt means to secure favours from Government officers", the apex court directed the probe on various issues including "favours" shown by V K Sibal, the then Director General of Directorate General of Hydrocarbon, to RIL and quid-pro-quo received.
It directed CBI probe into the allotment of coal blocks to Sasan Power Project run by ADAG Group and allotment of Iron ore mines at Ankua, in Singhbhum District of Jharkhand to Tata Steel.
A bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi asked the agency to investigate alleged criminal misconduct by public servants in respect of survey/raid conducted by Income Tax department, payment of illegal gratification to tax officials to get work done and conversations regarding allocation of spectrum.
Out of 23 issues which were framed by a apex court- appointed probe team on the analysis of the taped conversations of Radia with bureaucrats, politicians, corporate tycoons and scribes, the apex court ordered CBI probe in 14 issues.
The court also directed the probe in working of touts and middlemen and kickbacks in aviation sector and appointment of Pradip Baijal, ex-chief of TRAI, as Chairman of Pipeline Advisory Committee.
The agency will also probe market manipulation and hammering of stocks of Unitech and fudging in the subscribers base/record by ADAG Company and submission of the same to Bombay Stock Exchange and TRAI to save the money.
Tatas role in supply of low floor buses by Tata Motors to Government of Tamil Nadu under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission(JNNURM) scheme of Government of India will also be probed.
The apex court referred the matter relating to corruption/malpractice in Judiciary/Judges/Tribunals etc which was alluded to in the taped conversations to the Chief Justice of India for taking appropriate action.
Allotment of Iron ore mine to Reliance ADAG group without having any Steel Plant was referred to Chief Vigilance Officer in Union Ministry of Mines.
Giving in detail the sequence of events that resulted in the scrutiny of the intercepted tapes after former Tata Chief Ratan Tata approached the apex court for restraining them to come out in public domain, the bench also comprising V Gopala Gowda said, "the team then categorised the suspected calls in 17 issues which hint at some criminality/irregularity etc".
It said, "The subjects mentioned in the eight issues are prima facie indicative of deep rooted malaise in the system of which advantage has been taken by private enterprises in collaboration/connivance with the Government officers and others.
"The conversations between Niira Radia and her associates with various persons suggests that unscrupulous elements have used corrupt means to secure favours from the Government officers, who appear to have acted for extraneous considerations".
The bench turned down the suggestion of the probe team that some of the issues be probed by the state police and other agencies.
Other issues, mentioned by the team in its report, were Dayanidhi Maran allegedly giving money to Stalin's mother for a Cabinet berth and sending of nephew of Arcot Veeraswamy to London by TCS (at the behest of Mr A. Raja, then Minister of Telecommunications).
It also referred to various issues pertaining to allotment of 2G spectrum to Unitech, offloading of shares by them to Telenor etc, sale of Green House Company by A Raja to M/s Dynamic group of Shahid Balwa, possession/ access to confidential ministry papers by a journalist.