The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Union government to deposit with it the original recording of conversations between corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and others in connection with the 2G spectrum allocation scam by Thursday.
Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam told a Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly that the government would have no objection to the tapes being kept in safe custody, as decided by the court.
Mr. Subramaniam also informed the Bench that in keeping with the highest traditions of the office of the Central Vigilance Commissioner, P.J. Thomas had offered to recuse himself from the supervision of the probe in the 2G spectrum allocation case. The case was registered on October 21, 2009.
On Tuesday, the Bench asked the Solicitor-General to take instructions from the government whether it would be proper for Mr. Thomas to supervise the probe when his actions as Telecom Secretary were being scrutinised by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The Bench also wanted to know whether the “Radia tapes” could be preserved in safe custody.
In a brief order, the Bench, while recording Mr. Subramaniam's submissions, said: “Keeping in view the nature of the case, we direct the Directorate-General (Investigations), Income-Tax, that the original conversation of Ms. Niira Radia and others recorded on a hard drive or in the form of tapes, compact discs or any other electronic device, along with all telephonic call records, be put in a sealed cover and made over to the Court Masters by tomorrow [Thursday] after preparing the number of copies required by the Department of Income-Tax and the CBI. The Court Masters are directed to hand over the sealed envelope to the Secretary-General of this court, who shall keep the same under lock and seal. These recordings shall be made available as and when required by the court.”
Soon after the order was passed, Justice Ganguly said it was not proper for the former Communications Minister, A. Raja, to have ignored the advice of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the allocation of 2G spectrum licences.