New Delhi: PR professional and lobbyist Nira Radia was allegedly linked with foreign intelligence agencies and was engaged in anti-national activities which led the government to authorise the Income Tax (I-T) department to tap her phone conversations.
These details have emerged in the affidavit that the govt submitted in the Supreme Court in response to the issues raised by Tata chief Ratan Tata
in his petition relating to the Radia tapes which also has his conversation with her.
In a letter dated November 16, 2007, the Union Finance Ministry asked the Income Tax department to tap Radia’s conversation after it noticed that she had earned nearly Rs 900 cr in just three years, media reports said.
The letter, mentioned in the affidavit, also described that she was in touch with other countries’ intelligence agencies and may be involved in anti-national activities.
The affidavit said govt was not responsible for the leak of the conversations, though it assured that no fresh conversations will be leaked.
The tapping of Radia`s phone was sanctioned by the government and the "leaking to media was being looked into", the govt`s affidavit said, adding "never in the past had any electronic intercepts made by the Income Tax Department appeared in the media".
The affidavit reiterated that the "secrecy and security (of telephonic intercepts) have been maintained along with integrity and safety of the data in electronic form have been ensured through proper checks in the system through which the recordings have taken place".
"Income Tax Department has no powers with regards to the service providers and if it is established that any service provider was responsible for the unauthorized supply of the information, the Ministry of Telecommunication or any other competent authority will have to take further action," the affidavit said.
Referring to Tata`s prayer seeking to restrain the publication of the transcripts, the government said this could not be stopped.
"It is not possible or practical for the government to take steps to retrieve the various copies of some of the transcripts which have appeared in the print media or in the electronic media and which are being circulated on the internet," the affidavit said.
Tata has sought orders restraining the publication of the transcripts of the 5,851 telephonic conversations that Radia had with different people including politicians, bureaucrats and journalists in the course of the grant of licences for 2G spectrum.
During the hearing on the petition Dec 2, an apex court bench of Justice G.S.Singhvi and Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly was told that Tata was not challenging the right of the statutory agencies to intercept and record the telephonic conversations but making those audios public was certainly a matter of personal concern.
The matter will come up for hearing on Dec 13.