The Supreme Court has extended till January 8 the time limit for the Director General of Income Tax to provide it transcripts of the 5,800-odd controversial Niira Radia tapes.

A Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and S.J. Mukhopadhya on September 6 directed that the DG-IT, transcribe the entire tapes of the conversations of the former corporate lobbyist and hand them over to the court in a sealed cover in two months. The Bench had earlier directed that these tapes be provided in a hard disk for safe custody.

During the resumed hearing on Tuesday, Additional Solicitor General A.S. Chandihok, appearing for the I-T department, submitted part of the transcript of the conversations covering 52.57 hours and sought further four months to complete the work. He said 17 Assistant Directors of the department were on the task of transcribing the tapes.

The Bench was hearing a writ petition filed by industrialist Ratan Tata seeking action against those involved in leakage of the tapes, saying it amounted to infringement of his fundamental right to privacy. His counsel said the government must not outsource transcription. The Bench said, “If we find that the transcription is outsourced, then we will decide what to do.”

The Centre for Public Interest Litigation, in its petition, had prayed that all conversations of Ms. Radia be made public except the ones which were purely personal. It said conversations which showed illegality or criminality should be thoroughly investigated and matters taken to their logical conclusion.

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