SC gives I-T department two months to transcribe Radia tapes
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UPSET with the shoddy manner in which the Income Tax department dealt with the issue of interception of telephone calls involving corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, the Supreme Court today directed the IT department to get all the intercepted telephone conversations transcribed within two months for a proper probe.
The Bench of Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhay observed that this was necessary as some conversations concerned national security. "Since certain intercepted conversations concern national security and there are some about the fiscal transactions which are dubious, so much needs to be done," it said.
The IT department had intercepted about 5,800 telephone conversations of Radia, including with senior journalists.
The Bench also said that unless the conversations are transcribed, "everything will proceed on the basis of surmises and conjectures". It pointed out that even under law, the department was bound to prepare the transcripts as electronic evidence in its original form is not permitted.
The court directed the Directorate General of Income Tax (Investigation), who had ordered the phone-tapping, to get the conversations transcribed and submit a complete compilation of conversations within two months in a sealed cover.
During the resumed hearing of a petition filed by Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata seeking action against those involved in the leakage of the tapes, the Bench was annoyed that the department had not prepared a transcript of all the intercepted calls in such a "serious matter" despite passage of three years.
The Bench also termed as "vague" the reply of Additional Solicitor General A S Chandhiok that the probe was on into the leakage of the recorded conversation of Radia with Tata and others.
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