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2G tapes: My privacy violated,Tata tells SC

Citing character assassination,Tata is targetting those who leaked conversations with Nira Radia.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
November 29, 2010 3:20:11 am

Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata moved the Supreme Court on Monday seeking action against persons responsible for the leakage and “unauthorised” publication of tapes of his conversation with corporate lobbyist Nira Radia,alleging that it was sheer violation of his right to privacy.

The gist of Tata’s petition moved under Article 32 of the Constitution records the arguments made by him to The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta for Walk The Talk programme on NDTV 24×7,Tata’s lawyer in the Supreme Court,Manik Karanjawala,confirmed.

Tata argues that the tapes,recorded under IT surveillance of Radia in 2008 and 2009,should be used for the “public purpose” of the investigation.

Ratan Tata approached the Supreme Court seeking action against those involved in the leakage of tapes containing his conversation with Radia.

Tata,in the petition,has contended that the leakage of the tapes have infringed upon his fundamental Right to Life,which includes right to privacy.

Tata has made the central government a party in his petition. Union Home Secretary,the CBI,the Income Tax Department,the Department of Telecommunication and the Department of Information Technology have been made respondents.

Meanwhile,sources said that senior Advocate Harish Salve will appear for Tata in the apex court.

Tata in his petition submitted that the conversation was recorded by the government and “we have no quarrel with the government”.

He further contended that the government owns the responsibility of maintaining privacy of a citizen.

Some of the conversation between Tata and Radia,whose public relations firms were engaged by the group,relate to personal details that could no way be part of investigation,Tata argued in the petition.

Tata has sought a direction for fixing the responsibility for the alleged leakage of the tapes.

In his interview to Shekhar Gupta,he had said that government agencies should show a “sense of responsibility” to use the “special right to be able to invade people’s privacy for national security or for enforcement of law,whatever it may be” for prosecution purposes alone.

He compares the leak of the tapes to a “Banana Republic kind of attack on whoever one chooses to attack on a basis unsubstantiated even before the person has what I consider every Indian’s right — namely to be considered innocent until found guilty in a court of law,not on the street,not in this way.”

Recently,a Supreme Court Bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly had pressed the CBI about how the tapes managed to be leaked even though the agency has kept the transcripts in a sealed cover.

Since many of the conversations recorded were private in nature and had nothing to do with the IT investigation,Tata contends that their selective leak to the media was for the sole purpose of sensationalism.

Describing himself as a man who would not even work his way out of a parking ticket,Tata clarified that he did not however want to stand in the way of an investigation into the 2G Spectrum scam.

The CBI is currently listening to 5,851 calls,many of them 30-40 minutes long,recorded off Radia’s phone. The CBI itself,during a recent hearing,had expressed reservations about “the large amount of publicity created against persons who are being reviewed”.

“Ultimately if nothing comes up. Prejudice will be caused to them,” senior advocate KK Venugopal,appearing for the agency,had said.

In the wake of the 2G spectrum allocation scam allegedly involving Rs 1.76 lakh crore,some journals have published taped conversations Radia had with politicians,journalists and industrialists.

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