“Can citizens expect fair governance,” asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday, exasperated by the repeated reference to alleged involvement of middlemen in the Radia tapes, a cache of intercepted phone conversations of former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia with businessmen, politicians, journalists and bureaucrats.
After going through the court-appointed team’s analysis of transcripts of all 5,831 telephone intercepts, the CBI’s 2G scam probe team through senior advocate KK Venugopal said the alleged “criminality” indicated in award of Air India contracts and acceptance of post-retirement assignments in private companies by babus, who had officially dealt with issues relating to them, needed to be investigated by lodging separate cases.
A bench of Justices GS Singhvi and V Gopala Gowda agreed with Venugopal that all these conversations which revealed “criminality” in various issues having “far reaching impact on the administration of the whole country” must be investigated thoroughly by lodging separate cases.
It also asked additional solicitor general Paras Kuhad to submit that part of the analysis and the Radia tapes which related to Air India purchases to a coordinate bench hearing a petition by NGO ‘Centre for Public Interest Litigation’ (CPIL), which has alleged that irregularity in purchase and leasing of aircraft for Air India and dubious allotment of air routes had cost the exchequer nearly Rs 50,000 crore.
The bench also said that the conversations, if true, indicated presence of “arms dealers in every walk of life”. “If that is the situation, can citizens expect fair governance,” it asked in exasperation, especially after finding that these conversations indicating brazen disregard for rule of law had been in possession of authorities for years yet no action was taken on it.
Source: Excerpts from TOI.