New Delhi: The government on Friday told the Supreme Court that the issues raised by Tata chief Ratan Tata in his petition relating to the Nira Radia tapes require investigation.
Sources said that the affidavit filed by the government has maintained that “it is an issue that requires investigation”.
The government is also understood to have taken a stand that the publication of Tata’s conversation with Radia is an issue between the media and the petitioner.
The apex court had issued notices on 2 December to the union home secretary, the union finance ministry, the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Income Tax Department on Tata’s plea seeking probe into the leakage of audio tapes of his telephonic conversation with Radia.
The court had also issued notices to Outlook and Open magazines which had published parts of transcripts of the taped conversation.
The apex court had given ten days to all respondents to file their reply and had posted the case for hearing on 13 December.
Tata has sought a direction to the government to probe leakage of tapes containing his private conversation with corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, and stop their further publication.
In his petition, the industrialist has sought action against those involved in the leakage of tapes alleging that such an act amounts to infringement of his fundamental Right to Life, which includes Right to Privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Tata has contended that since Radia’s phone was tapped for the purposes of alleged tax evasion, the tapes cannot be used for any other purpose.
The petition has cited the apex court guidelines in the PUCL case in which it was held that the phone surveillance can be done only for a specific purpose.
Tata has argued that making public his conversation with Radia also violates his Right to Speech and Expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.
Tata’s petition filed on 29 November has sought an interim relief that steps should be taken to prevent online portals and electronic media from publishing material which had been “illegally” and “unlawfully” obtained by them.
The petition has also asked the apex court to give a direction to the government and its probe agencies to “retrieve” and “recover” the leaked tapes.
In the wake of 2G spectrum allocation scam allegedly involving Rs1.76 lakh crore, some journals have published taped conversation Radia had with politicians, journalists and industrialists.
Transcripts of some of these tapes have also come up in various websites, stirring a controversy over the alleged nexus between lobbyists and journalists.