The CBI Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that its probe into instances of illegalities and criminality into the Niira Radia tapes is over, even as the court decided to first adjudicate on the legal issues relating to various rights arising out of the intercepted conversation of the former corporate lobbyist with various prominent persons, including former Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata.
A three-judge bench led by Justice H L Dattu said the issues of criminality and illegalities in “awarding of various contracts which have come out in the conversations of different persons” will be taken up for hearing after the moot issues are decided.
While fixing the matter for final hearing on August 26, 27 and 28, the bench said these formidable issues shall be decided first for the good of the country. It noted that the CBI has already submitted its reports in sealed cover in accordance with the directions of the SC and these will be taken up later.
The court refused to allow a plea made by advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO ‘CPIL’, for taking up the issue of criminality first. He has filed a petition for direction to disclose all tapes while Tata has sought action against those involved in the leakage of the tapes since it infringed his fundamental right to life, which includes right to privacy.
The SC also said it will consider at a subsequent stage whether a court-monitored probe was required any further into the matter. “We are of the view that primarily, following issues will be considered — right to privacy vis-à-vis government, right to privacy vis-à-vis persons and right to information (to know),” said the court while framing the issues.
The bench pointed out that Additional Solicitor General Paras Kuhad had already submitted that the CBI had completed its probe into the issues of illegalities, and whether the court required to issue further directions and if the investigating agency was required to approach a “proper forum” will be decided later.