The CBI on Tuesday took the Supreme Court by surprise after it submitted that certain Income Tax officials had colluded with corporate lobbyist Niira Radia to evade taxes amounting to crores of rupees.
According to a Times of India report, the charge made by the CBI is part of a classified report that Additional Solicitor General Paras Kuhad submitted to a bench comprising Justices GS Singhvi and V Gopala Gowda.
The claim was supported by Additional Solicitor General L Nageshwar Rao who had appeared for the I-T department.
“The October 4 report of CBI reflected that contents of three calls, which indicated that they (officials) were hand in glove with Radia. All of them pertained to certain transactions,” Rao was quoted as telling the court by The Times of India.
The court said it would ask the special team probing the case to look into the charge. “It clearly reflected criminality,” the bench reportedly said.
Ironically, it was the Income Tax department itself which had tapped Radia’s phone conversations uncovering the alleged 2G spectrum scam in 2009.
Meanwhile the Supreme Court also granted three months to the court-appointed special team of investigators to complete the scrutiny of transcripts of the intercepted conversations of former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia with corporates, politicians and others to probe the criminality involved in them.
A bench comprising justices G S Singhvi and V Gopal Gowda said three months time will start from 17 October when it will finalise the composition of the team as 10 more income tax inspectors would be included in it to carry out the task.
The bench, which was provided with the names of five officials, asked the income tax department to provide it with the names of the other inspectors in a sealed envelope by Thursday so that it could pass the formal order on 17 October.
It also made it clear to the probe agencies that there will be no change in the team till the report is submitted and the entire probe would be court-monitored.
The bench said earlier CBI had place before it the report in which it had segregated the issues involving criminality for which the probe was being conducted by it and some of them have to be referred to the state police, Security Exchange Board of India ( SEBI) and the Central Vigilance Commission.
The court was told that till now only 25 percent of the transcription has been scrutinised.
During the last few hearings, the bench had said scrutiny of the tapped conversations of Radia with influential people has revealed that they were not restricted to 2G spectrum alone and throw light on different spheres.
The apex court, which perused the confidential reports of the committee, had said the scrutiny of call details of Radia with politicians, corporates and others reflect the issues concerning national security.
The bench would also hear on 22 October the petition filed by former Tata Chief Ratan Tata seeking action against those allegedly responsible for the leakage of tape and his plea for right to privacy.
With PTI inputs