Industrialist Ratan Tata has questioned in the Supreme Court the lackadaisical attitude of the centre in allowing free distribution and publication of his private conversations with lobbyist Niira Radia recorded by the directorate general of income tax without taking any steps to retrieve the stored material or to find out the source of leakage.
He alleged that the government has remained ''least bothered'' about the violation of an individual's privacy in the entire episode.
He voiced the criticism in an affidavit filed in the court in response to the government's reply to his petition seeking protection of his right to privacy, linked to the citizens' fundamental right to life.
In his affidavit, Tata pointed out that the centre's affidavit to the apex court "gives the impression that it is the perception of the government that while protecting such wiretap material is required by the rules, the failure to safeguard such material from leaking out and reaching the hands of outsiders does not warrant any step on the part of the government to retrieve it" or to probe as to how the leak occured.
Tata has also expressed reservations against the growing practice of intercepting telephone conversations of individuals to probe cases involving violation of tax laws, while the provision was originally used only to investigate serious offences involving the security of the state.
The government in its affidavit has admitted that "not only is this power of tapping telephones being exercised where there is a compelling need to prevent the commission of serious crime which impinges upon the security of the state, but it has been widely extended even to prevent violation of tax laws," said Tata in his affidavit.