THE CBI, which investigated the Niira Radia tapes case that set off a political storm 12 years ago, told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it had examined the conversations and found no criminality in them.
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the central probe agency, conveyed this to a bench presided by Justice D Y Chandrachud and sought permission to file a fresh status report before the court.
The bench, also comprising Justices Hima Kohli and P S Narasimha, was hearing a plea by industrialist Ratan Tata seeking enforcement of his privacy rights.
Bhati said that the SC had entrusted the investigation in the matter to the CBI by order dated October 17, 2013 and that the agency had thereafter filed 14 preliminary enquiries, reports of which were placed before the top court in sealed cover.
The agency, she added, had not pressed for any further inquiry thereafter as the investigation had not thrown up any criminality in the conversations.
She said nothing substantial remained in the matter after the SC judgment on privacy in the K Puttaswamy case.
Appearing for the NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigations, which had filed a petition seeking release of the conversations and framing of guidelines on data protection, advocate Prashant Bhushan submitted that the conversations in question involving Radia, a corporate lobbyist, was recorded by someone in the Income Tax department and leaked to the media.
“It was of the lady who was a corporate lobbyist for two of the most important companies in the country, Reliance and Tata. It revealed business practices, strategy to influence people…That is why it became a matter of such public importance,” he said.
The court, meanwhile, allowed the CBI’s prayer to allow it to file a fresh status report.