'No criminality found in 5,800 conversations', CBI to SC in Radia tapes

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New Delhi, Sep 21, 2022, IANS

The CBI on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that no criminality was found in Radia tapes case. Ratan N. Tata, chairman emeritus Tata Sons, had moved the apex court seeking protection of his right to privacy against the backdrop of leaked private conversations involving former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia.

The CBI's counsel submitted before a bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that it probed 5,800 conversations, which did not reveal any criminality. The central investigative agency gave a clean chit to Radia. The apex court has scheduled the matter for further hearing next week. Over a decade ago, Radia's phone conversations with industrialists, journalists, government officers, and other people holding key posts were tapped as part of a tax investigation.

Tata filed the petition in 2011. He had contended that the release of the tapes amounted to infringement on his right to privacy. The case was last heard in April 2014, and the top court crystallized the issues -- right to privacy vis-a-vis the government; right to privacy vis-a-vis the media; and the right to information.

Tata had sought a probe into who had leaked the excerpts from the intercepts and also a mechanism in place to guard against such indiscriminate invasion into a citizen's privacy.

In August 2017, the apex court, in a landmark verdict, had said that privacy is a constitutional right. Nine judges were unanimous in their finding, however they cited different reasons for their conclusion.