Pointing to “deep-rooted malice” and “connivance” of private entrepreneurs with government officials for illegal gains, the Supreme Court Thursday ordered a CBI investigation into various contentious conversations that former corporate lobbyistNiira Radia had had with several people, including industrialists and journalists.
A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and C Nagappan directed the CBI to probe into seven “issues” out of the 16 flagged by the agency as it examined the telephonic conversations of Radia intercepted by the Income-Tax department between 2008 and 2009.
“The conversations are indicative of the deep-rooted malice by private enterprises in connivance with government officials and others for extraneous purposes. Interested persons have secured gains from government officers and others which are suggestive of corrupt means being adopted by private parties to extract gains,” the bench said.
The court did not reveal the “issues” to be inquired into by CBI
The bench rejected a proposal by the special team, which was constituted by the court to transcribe the tapped conversations and point out specific elements of criminality, to refer five out of the nine “issues” to states for investigation by their respective police.
Favouring a thorough CBI inquiry into all the nine issues that the CBI had claimed to involve criminality, the bench asked the agency to proceed and register fresh Preliminary Enquiries (PEs) into seven instances.
While one matter has been referred to the Chief Justice of India for “consideration and appropriate actions,” the ninth matter has been sent by the court to the Chief Vigilance Officer in the Ministry of Mines for necessary action.
The bench asked the CBI to constitute a special team to carry out the investigations and submit its probe report on the PEs within two months, by December 16. It also directed that the transcription and examination of other tapped conversations, which were left out in the first round of scrutiny, should continue.
Appearing for the CBI, Additional Solicitor General Paras Kuhad had, on July 31, confirmed criminality in the Radia tapes case, and told the court that the agency was willing to start a probe. He had handed over a summary of the analysis of 5,800 tapped conversations, and said that at least four cases needed investigation.
The court had agreed with the ASG, saying there were several “uncomfortable” issues and “lurking dangers” in the conversations. “There