Radia's firm alleges malicious campaign against it

The government on Saturday said that it would be premature to make a judgment on whether corporate lobbyist Niira Radia was a spy or not, until the probe was completed in the matter.

“Until the investigation is complete, the judicial process is complete and the court gives its verdict, who can sit in judgment,” Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said here when asked whether Ms. Radia was a spy.

Mr. Mukherjee's comment assumes importance in the backdrop of an affidavit filed by the government in the Supreme Court on Friday, where it was stated that Ms. Radia's phones were tapped following complaints of her being a foreign spy and her building up a business empire of Rs. 300 crore in a short span of nine years.

Affidavit

The affidavit was filed in connection with industrialist Ratan Tata's plea to the court seeking steps by the government to stop the publication in the media of the leaked transcripts of tapped conversations between him, his Ms. Radia and others.

The government in its affidavit said that it was alleged that Ms. Radia was an agent of foreign intelligence agencies and she was indulging in anti-national activities.

The government said that conversations were recorded as part of the surveillance ordered by the Directorate-General of Income Tax (Investigation) following a complaint received by the Finance Minister on November 16, 2007, alleging that Ms. Radia had within a short span of nine years built up a business empire worth Rs. 300 crore.

“Malicious campaign”

Meanwhile, Ms. Radia's public relations firm Vaishnavi said in a statement that “vested corporate interests” had been trying to harm it with a malicious and derogatory campaign since 2007.

“Various queries seem to arise from a case which is subjudice before the Supreme Court to which we are not a party. We have complete faith in the investigative and judicial process of the country. However it may be stated that in 2007, certain vested corporate interests had circulated an inadmissible and forged letter with malicious, baseless and derogatory content,” a Vaishnavi Corporate Communications spokesperson said.

“We had categorically denied the baseless allegations to the media in 2007. The forgery of such a document was also shared with the media then,” the spokesperson said.

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