Government told to deposit Radia tapes with apex court

The Supreme Court Wednesday called for the original taped recordings of the conversations of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and others relating to 2G spectrum scam to be deposited with the court registry. The government told the court that CVC P.J. Thomas will not supervise the CBI’s probe into the scandal.

The court directed the government to deposit the original recordings, in hard disc, tapes and CDs, with the court registry in a sealed cover after preparing their copies.

In a related development, Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium told the court that Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) P.J. Thomas will recuse himself from supervising the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) probe into the 2G spectrum scam.

Thomas’s decision to recuse himself came in the wake of the apex court’s observation about the difficulties that he may face in maintaining objectivity in supervising the investigation in the 2G scam on the issues on which he had tendered an opinion as the then telecom secretary.

An apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice Ashok Kumar Ganguly passed the directions for the safe custody of the Radia tapes after Solicitor General Subramanium told the court the centre had no objection in handing over the complete set of the recordings.

The government said this after the court had asked it to respond to senior counsel Prashant Bhushan’s fear that the tapes may disappear in the manner some important papers in the Adarsh Housing scam had gone missing.

The apex court Tuesday had asked Subramanium to take instructions from the government to address the apprehensions expressed by Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) in the 2G spectrum scam.

The petitioner CPIL is seeking the court monitoring of the CBI investigations into the scandal.

Supreme Court asks Vodafone to deposit Rs.2,500 crore

The Supreme Court Monday directed telecom major Vodafone to deposit Rs.2,500 crore ($550 million) as part of a tax liability in the takeover of Hutch Essar group’s India operations.

An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia also said Vodafone has to provide a bank guarantee of Rs.8,500 crore to the government. The cash amount of Rs.2,500 crore has to be deposited in three weeks and the bank guarantee within eight weeks, it said.