CBI scanning transcripts of 5851 calls

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By OUR BUREAU
  • Published 23.11.10
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New Delhi, Nov. 22: The CBI today told the Supreme Court that it would complete the 2G spectrum investigation by March and that corporate communications consultant Nira Radia’s telephone records “are still being examined”.

The submissions were made in an affidavit that cited the “enormity of the task” on a day the BJP indicated that it wanted an investigation into the “Nira Radia tapes” included in the terms of reference of a joint parliamentary committee probe it is demanding.

Contents of tapes made public by a section of the media feature purported conversations Radia had with industrialists, journalists and politicians.

“About 3,500 calls have now been analysed and the process is ongoing. The recordings, which (are) the main basis of the investigation regarding her role, are still being examined,” the CBI said in the affidavit.

The agency is examining transcripts relating to 5,851 calls — of which 3,500 have been analysed — and 82,665 pages of documents.

“The exercise is prolonged and is continuing as 5,851 calls recordings, many of them being 30-40 minutes long, have to be listened (to) and analysed,” the CBI said.The CBI had asked the income tax department, which had put the phone of Radia under surveillance, on November 26, 2009 to provide the complete recordings, along with original permission letter of the home ministry for the interception.

The CBI, which is examining the conversations between Radia and others, told the court that it would quiz her at an appropriate time.

“It is only when the materials based on these calls are cross-checked, verified and relevant evidence on matters disclosed by these calls are obtained through investigation, the material would be put to Radia at an appropriate time,” the agency said in its seven-page affidavit.

Radia expressed readiness to co-operate with “any investigating agency”.

“We will comply and co-operate with any agency as and when we are approached,” Radia and a spokesperson for her firm, Vaishnavi Corporate Communications, told PTI after the CBI indicated she could be quizzed. The statement said their telecom client, Tata Teleservices, had been “discriminated” against in spectrum allotment.

Lok Sabha Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj said: “The tapes show that the edifice of democracy is in danger. They show that our polity is controlled and dictated to by corporates. There should be a debate among MPs on this because the four pillars of democracy — the executive, legislature, judiciary and the press (media) — look shaky.”

The BJP leader was speaking to reporters after an all-party meeting, held to try and break the House logjam over the spectrum scandal.

The CBI filed the affidavit seeking more time after the apex court rapped it on October 29 for probing the scandal “in a shoddy manner”.

During today’s hearings, the agency’s counsel, K.K. Venugopal, urged the court to wait for the probe to be over before coming to any conclusion.