The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday registered four preliminary enquiries (PEs) in connection with Supreme Court's order last week to probe alleged criminality in intercepted conversations of former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia with high profile industrialists and politicians, clearing the way for their questioning.
The inquiries, the first stage in the CBI's investigation process, concern the dealings of industrial houses of Tatas, Reliance, Unitech and senior bureaucrats.
A report quoting CBI sources said that four PEs covering these issues have so far been registered on the instructions of the Supreme Court while the process of initiating the remaining 10 inquiries is underway.
The sources said the agency has registered a PE into Radia's conversation with Pradip Baijal, ex-chief of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, allegedly pertaining to his appointment as chairman of the Pipeline Advisory Committee to allegedly favour Reliance Industries.
The agency has named Baijal and Radia in the enquiry, they said.
In pursuance of the Supreme Court order asking the CBI to look into 14 more issues arising from the Radia tapes, the probe agency is to start 10 more PEs shortly.
One of the inquiries which got underway on Tuesday concerns the alleged fudging of the subscriber data base that Reliance Communications submitted to Bombay Stock Exchange and TRAI.
The data manipulation is alleged to have cost the government Rs450 crore in lost revenue.
The CBI will also investigate Vishal Mehta, the then chief executive of Radia's public relations firm Vaishnavi Communication, along with unknown officials of the Department of Telecommunications and real estate firm Unitech for alleged irregularity in the allotment of spectrum.
The agency will also probe unknown employees of Vaishnavi and officers of BHEL for alleged payment of bribes for clearing bills from the PSU.
Besides, the agency has referred the issue of alleged corruption in the supply of low-floor buses by Tata Motors to Tamil Nadu under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) to its Chennai office for starting an inquiry.
CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad confirmed that the agency had registered four PEs.
The apex court had asked the CBI to look for instances of alleged criminality in the cache of recorded conversations.
A bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi had identified 23 issues which were framed by a apex court appointed probe team on the analysis of the taped conversations of Radia with bureaucrats, politicians, corporate tycoons and journalists.