Radia Tapes: SC asks Centre, CBI to reply on plea

NEW DELHI, Nov 13:  The Supreme Court today asked the Centre and CBI to file replies on a plea seeking to direct the government to take action on findings of Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) which found “irregularities” in some business transactions after examining Niira Radia tapes.

A bench of justices G S Singhvi and V Gopala Gowda also asked former Tata chief, Ratan Tata who has filed a plea for not making public tapped conversations of Radia, to file reply within a week.

Immediately after the order was passed and the matter was adjourned for December 2 for hearing of cases arising out of Radia’s tapped conversation, senior advocate Rajiv Dhawan, appearing for Open Magazine, strongly objected for deferment of hearing.

Dhawan pleaded that the court should hear the case today itself and he be allowed to argue on behalf of the magazine against Tata’s petition but the court turned down his plea.

An agitated Dhawan said, “It is highly unfortunate. I don’t want to say this at a time when my lordship is retiring but I have to say it is highly unfortunate.”

“You are denying me an opportunity to respond on the plea. It is highly arbitrary,” he further said.

Taking exception to Dhawan’s submission, Justice Singhvi recused himself from the case and said the matter be listed before another bench.

In the plea filed by NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), referred to a purported letter written by the investigating officer to the Director of SFIO and submitted that cases of serious corporate fraud were allegedly brought out against them which need to be probed.

The plea submitted that the probe was originally initiated by the Registrar of Companies (RoC) on whose report to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, an SFIO inquiry was ordered.

“All of the above have been thoroughly investigated and action has been recommended against top corporates to the Government of India several months back. Yet no action has been taken.”

The NGO alleged that these cases are different from the issues framed by the apex court in which it had directed CBI probe.

“Thus it is clear an attempt is being made to scuttle investigations arising out of or involving the intercepted conversations of Niira Radia’s telephones in order to save top corporate groups. Only strong directions from this court coupled with the disclosure of the transcribed conversations can lead to the guilty being brought to book,” the application said. (PTI)


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