Radia tapes' scrutiny; SC seeks names from CBI, IT dept & ED

Radia tapes' scrutiny; SC seeks names from CBI, IT dept & ED New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought by Thursday the names of officials of CBI, IT department and the Enforcement Directorate for setting up of a team to enquire into the tapped telephonic conversations of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia with others to ascertain element of criminality.

The apex court also said that it would pronounce its order on February 21 on constitution of a team for probing the contents of tapes having conversations of Radia with various politicians, corporate honchos and others.

"The Additional Solicitor General (Haren Rawal who appeared for the CBI) will be obliged to give the list of officers of all the three organisations (CBI, IT department and ED) by tomorrow," a bench of justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya said.

The bench also asked the ASG to give the names of five CBI officers as he had argued that the team should exclusively consist of members from CBI and involving other agencies would make the task difficult.

However, the plea was opposed by Prashant Bhushan, the counsel for NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation, saying that earlier also, CBI did not DO anything for almost two years after lodging the FIR in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

"My suggestion would be a team, comprising officers from CBI, IT department and the Enforcement Directorate be constituted and an independent person, such as a retired judge or a person who is not from the Government, should either supervise or head the investigation," he said.

During the hearing, the court warned CBI that it would take a very "serious" view of any "leak" of the tapped conversations to the media.

"We will take a very serious view of anybody leaking it...Still there are some people who are leaking something to media. Whether you like it or not, things get leaked ... debates ensue in media and sometimes conviction also takes place...We have different interpretations of freedom of speech and expression," Justice Singhvi said.

"So far nothing adverse has come forward which can say that we have not done our duty. Let our analysis (of tapes) come before the court. It will be our test before this court," the ASG said.

PTI