Released for the first time by a Supreme Court order on Wednesday, the 24 telephone conversations which Amar Singh fought hard to keep out of the public domain provide a disjointed glimpse into a world in which politicians, businessmen, bureaucrats and even actors seamlessly transact business with each other, not all of it seemingly legitimate.

The conversations were illegally recorded in 2006 on the basis of a forged official authorisation but it is not clear when exactly these recordings were made or by whom.

Though the former Samajwadi Party general secretary was not a Minister in the Uttar Pradesh government during SP rule from 2003 to 2007, the taped conversations capture his active involvement in governmental decision-making. Many of the tapes show the casual manner in which government policies, contracts and postings were discussed and settled. Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan, on whose intervention the apex court allowed the tapes to be made public, urged the enforcement agencies to look at the transcripts for violations of law.

The tapes reveal Mr. Singh, who was the Chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Development Council, talking to the then Chief Minister Mulayam Singh about the selection of judges, the posting of officials, and the setting of sugarcane prices for farmers with due consideration to millers. Senior bureaucrats are heard talking to him about specific policies.

Though the transcripts supplied to the Supreme Court by the petitioners identify the businessmen by name, none of them was available for comment and The Hindu cannot independently confirm that it is their voice that is heard. Mr. Amar Singh, who had initially scheduled a press conference for Wednesday, has said he would speak on the matter on Thursday.