Critical of the “unauthorised” release of tapes of his conversation with PR consultant Niira Radia, the $73-billion Tata group chief Ratan Tata may move the Supreme Court on Monday to seek action against those behind the leak.
Mr. Tata may invoke Article 32 of the Constitution, claiming that his right to life, which includes right to privacy, has been breached by the leak of these tapes.
Under Article 32, any person who feels that his fundamental rights are violated can straightaway move the highest court of the country seeking redressal of the grievance.
The petition, where the Union of India is sought to be made a respondent, seeks that responsibilities be fixed on who leaked the tapes — recorded by the Income Tax authorities in 2008 and 2009 — that were meant for investigation.
Asked about the petition and its details, a Tata group spokesperson declined to comment.
Some of the conversations between Mr. Tata and Ms. Radia, whose PR firms have been engaged by the group, relate to personal details that could no way be part of investigation, Mr. Tata is expected to argue in the petition.
In the wake of the 2G spectrum allocation scam allegedly involving Rs 1.76 lakh crore, some magazines published taped conversations Ms. Radia had with politicians, journalists and industrialists. Some of these tapes have also come up on various websites, stirring a major controversy over the alleged nexus between the lobbyists and journalists.
In an interview to NDTV on Thursday last, Mr. Tata had said that the agencies had been given a special right to be able to invade people's privacy for national security or for enforcement of law.
“So they can do so. That additional power is a very special power which has to be exercised with a sense of responsibility. The content needs to be held for prosecution purpose and not be misused, and certainly not to go out to have a field day with.
“There doesn't seem to be prosecution on the one end and there doesn't seem to be confidentiality on the other,” he said.
“I have listened to some of the tapes and you know I am not a Delhi resident... but I wonder if other people's phones were tapped whether we would get similar kinds of conversation. I do not know if she has the power to influence the Cabinet appointments or anything of this nature,” Mr. Tata said.
Asked about who could be behind these, he said: “It could be enemies in the government, corporate rivals, I cannot say. It is not a natural thing.”
He was responding to a question whether corporate rivals were behind the attack on the Radia-led Vaishnavi Corporate Communications, which represents Tata Group firms.
Explaining how the group decided to hire an external agency to represent it, Mr. Tata cited the allegations that the group was “hobnobbing with the extremists in Assam” and said: “Every time we had tried to do anything it was a defensive move, rebutting or denying or usually we got relegated to a back page of newspapers.
“So we thought why not go out and seek a firm to represent us and that's how we, in fact, came together with Niira Radia who formed this company.”
Mr. Tata also asserted that his group had never overturned government policy or used Ms. Radia to make payments or to seek favours.
“We have advocated level-playing fields. We have advocated changes in policy through her or directly. But never once have we done something to exploit a political or a policy issue,” he said.