The Supreme Court on Friday said the tapped telephone conversations of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia with politicians, corporate honchos and others needs to be scrutinised by the CBI to find out element of criminality.
A bench of justices G.S. Singhvi and S.J. Mukhopadhaya said that it had gone through transcripts of some of the conversations which were not personal and innocuous in nature.
“We have gone through some of the conversations. Some of them are innocuous but others are not. It needs to be scrutinised. It cannot be done by us. Even we shuffle through, it would take hours,” the bench said, adding the voluminous transcripts “need to be scrutinised to find out element of criminality in them.”
It asked the CBI to name officers who will be available to scrutinise the documents. Additional Solicitor General Haren Rawal, who appears for CBI, was not present in the court to respond to the query.
The bench, thereafter, adjourned the hearing for February 13 and expressed displeasure on non-appearance of Mr. Rawal in the case. Mr. Rawal’s junior told the court that he has gone to Lucknow to appear in a case in the High Court there.
The bench, during the hearing, made it clear that scrutiny would be limited to those conversations which pertain to criminal element and relating to interest of justice.
“It should be confined to issues relating to criminal element and interest of justice,” the bench said when senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for former Tata chief Ratan Tata, said private conversations should be excluded from scrutiny.
“Utmost secrecy must be maintained while it is being scrutinised,” Mr. Salve said.
He was referring to various conversations that took place between Mr. Tata and Ms. Radia which are allegedly personal in nature.
The bench also made it clear that criminal element in conversation would be taken to the court of law.