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Apex court sets up special team to scan contents of Radia tapes

A six-member special team comprising five from the CBI and one from the Income Tax department was on Thursday constituted by the Supreme Court to examine the contents of tapped telephonic conversations of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia with politicians, corporate honchos and others.

A bench comprising justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya said the working of the team will be supervised by two officers of the CBI who will report to Superintendent of Police, CBI dealing with the 2G matter.

The bench said that the overall supervision will be under the Deputy Inspector General, CBI who is looking after the case.

The bench said that the team shall submit its report in four months from Thursday.

The apex court on 13 February had sought names of officials of CBI, IT department and the Enforcement Directorate for setting up of a team to enquire into the tapped telephonic conversations of Radia with others to ascertain element of criminality.

The court had earlier said that it had gone through some of the tapped conversations and some of them were ‘innocuous’ and hence, the voluminous transcripts were needed to be ‘scrutinised’ to find out elements of ‘criminality’ in them.

It had also made clear that the scrutiny would be limited to those conversations which pertain to criminal element and relating to interest of justice.

Earlier, senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Ratan Tata, had submitted that ‘utmost secrecy’ be maintained in the scrutiny of transcripts.

He was referring to various conversations that took place between Tata and Radia which are allegedly personal in nature.  ‘There are some conversations in public domain and those are hardly personal in nature. They relate to illegality and shed significant light on how government decisions are being influenced and how institutions run in the country,’ Prashant Bhushan, had said.
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