Pointless to pursue Radia tapes probe, CBI to tell SC

21 February 2014

The Central Bureau of Investigation has decided to seek closure of the Niira Radia tapes episode without filing any charges, as it has not found any element of criminality in the 14 preliminary enquiries instituted on the directions of the Supreme Court. The tapped phone conversations between corporate lobbyist Radia and various others found their way into the media, creatig a furore.

Niira RadiaBased on its findings, the CBI is likely to today inform the Supreme Court that it is not in a position to press charges against anybody, and recommend closure of the preliminary enquiries.

Among the first set of inquiries set up by the CBI was the one pertaining to Radia's conversations with a former Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman on his appointment as the head of a Pipeline Advisory Committee.

Another inquiry had been initiated into alleged discrepancies in the subscriber database declared by Reliance Communications to the Bombay Stock Exchange and TRAI and two others were against Radia and unknown BHEL officials for purported payment of commission for clearance of bills; and into grant of spectrum to Unitech.

The other preliminary enquiries instituted later were on issues such as procurement of low-floor buses by the Tamil Nadu government under JNNURM scheme of the central government; alleged misconduct in allotment of iron-ore mines to Tata Steel; and some surveys and raids conducted by the Income Tax Department.

Sources in the CBI told various sections of the media that the Supreme Court would be informed about the agency's finding during next hearing, scheduled next month.

They said a final decision whether to close the enquiries or further probe them will depend on the directions of the Supreme Court which had handed to it over the investigation.

They said a journalist from a TV channel and a senior executive of a leading newspaper group have already been examined by the agency.  Besides, executives of Reliance, Unitech and Tata Motors have also been examined by the agency in connection with its enquiries. 

The apex court bench, headed by Justice G S Singhvi, had ordered the CBI to probe 14 issues that were identified by the investigating agency after going through the transcript of the Radia tapes submitted to it by the Income Tax department.

The court has also referred one of the matters to the chief vigilance officer of the department of mines for investigation and another to the Chief Justice of India.

"Radia's conversations reveal deep-rooted malice by private enterprises in connivance with government officials for extraneous purposes," the Supreme Court had said.

Using strong words, the court had said the telephonic conversations suggest corrupt means being adopted by private parties to extract gains.

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