New Delhi: You ain’t seen anything yet as far as the Niira Radia tapes leakage goes, India’s Union Home Secretary has said in an interview to the Wall Street Journal.
GK Pillai told the magazine that the tapes with the government for the purpose of investigation have much more content.
"The parts that have come out aren't really connected to the investigation," he said.
Describing the tape leaks as “juicy”, Pillai said they were leaked by someone in order to “titillate” the media.
He added that the leaks in public were merely “a scratch on the surface”.
The remaining 5,000-plus recordings contain the details that will actually assist investigators as they draw up formal charges against wrongdoers.
A corporate lobbyist and PR professional, Radia’s conversations with senior journalists, corporate honchos and politicians were tapped by the government in a case of tax evasion.
The tapes got leaked mysteriously by two magazines and revealed nexus between all the above which was being used for lobbying purposes.
The Home Ministry oversees internal security issues and approves wiretap requests by the central government agencies.
Pillai said he gave the go-ahead to tape Radia's phones to further a tax-evasion investigation.
Asked how that probe was connected to the controversial allocation of so-called 2G mobile phone spectrum in 2008, Pillai said the potentially illegal movement of funds in and out of India was being scrutinized closely. He declined to elaborate.
The Home Secretary said the leaking of the Radia tapes has spooked India's corporate establishment. He added that the fears of widespread wiretapping were exaggerated as the home ministry follows strict guidelines in approving any surveillance.
He said the government has about 6,000 to 8,000 wiretaps happening at any point, and only about three percent to 5 percent of them are for corporate or white-collar investigations.
Pillai said he was concerned over the Radia tapes having been leaked and was awaiting the results of a government inquiry into how the disclosure happened.
But he said all the tapes would likely become public at some point anyway, since the Supreme Court has asked for a full set of copies and it could be petitioned to release them eventually. "You can't do pick and choose (then)," he said.
"Everything will come out."
First Published: Monday, December 06, 2010, 20:54