The apex court said the conversations of Niira Radia were tapped five years back but government authorities remained idle, which is not a happy situation
The Supreme Court on Thursday pulled up the Income Tax (I-T) department and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for not taking action on information gathered from tapped phone conversations of Niira Radia with corporate honchos, politicians and others.
A bench of justices GS Singhvi and V Gopala Gowda said the conversations were tapped five years back but government authorities remained idle and questioned whether they were waiting for the court’s order to act.
“The tapping was done five years ago, what have they (government authorities) done so far? Were they waiting for Court’s order? It is not a happy situation that action will be taken only after court’s order,” the bench said.
It asked the I-T department to place before the bench all original records pertaining to authorisation of tapping of Radia’s phones.
The apex court, which perused the report and transcripts prepared by its specially constituted team of investigators, had said “some of the items highlighted will become the subject matter of investigation”.
The analysis of the conversations was done by a six-member special team constituted by the apex court and comprising five from CBI and one from I-T department.
The apex court directed the IT department, which had tapped Radia’s phones, to apprise it whether the officers entrusted with the task of tapping had informed their seniors about the contents of the recording and whether CBI was informed about criminality with regard to matters referred to in the conversations.
The conversations were recorded as part of surveillance of Radia’s phone on a complaint to the Finance Minister on 16 November 2007 alleging that within a span of nine years she had built up a business empire worth Rs300 crore.
The government had recorded 180 days of Radia’s conversations – first from 20 August 2008 onwards for 60 days and then from 19th October for another 60 days. Later, on 11 May 2009, her phone was again put on surveillance for another 60 days following a fresh order given on 8th May.
The apex court had said on Wednesday that it would direct a CBI probe into several aspects arising out of the tapped telephonic conversations of the former corporate lobbyist.
The market regulator is looking into relevant data collected from the stock exchanges through its internal market surveillance system. SEBI may also seek information from brokerages as well as the companies involved
Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India has initiated a probe into the stock price crash in Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) and its promoter Financial Technologies India Ltd (FTIL) and has asked for information from stock exchanges.
Financial Technologies shares fell by over 62% today, while MCX hit its lower circuit following concerns about another group entity National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL).
According to media reports, SEBI began looking into the matter a few days ago, as the stocks of the two companies had been falling for quite some time with unusual volumes.
The regulator is also looking into the trading pattern of some brokerage and many other entities in the two stocks to ascertain whether they had any advance information about problems at NSEL.
Last month Financial Technologies had said that it suspected some vested interests and a bear cartel were behind the sharp plunge in the share prices of the company and its unit MCX.
In a statement, the company said that since 15 July 2013 there have been many malicious rumours afloat on various media. "The series of rumours that are spread in the market have a pattern more particularly to spread on Friday and such rumours are spread by some unscrupulous elements with a design to depress the price of FTIL and damage its reputation," Financial Technologies added.
Anjani Sinha, chief executive of NSEL, told a television channel that the commodity bourse has sufficient physical stocks to cover its outstanding exposure.
The watch and jewellery maker saw its revenues boosted by lower price of gold which spurred demand for its jewellery while the lower discretionary spend impacted its timepiece business
Titan Industries reported 16.9% higher net profit to Rs182.48 crore, for the April-June period, driven by higher jewellery sales due to fall in price of gold. The company’s total revenues, including sales, grew 42% to Rs3,087.8 crore from Rs2,230.8 crore a year ago period.
Bhaskar Bhat, managing director, Titan Industries said, “Margins in both watch and jewellery businesses were impacted due to change in product mix. Consumer sentiment continues to be weak and discretionary spend was subdued. The pressures of high inflation due to a weak rupee as well as rising import costs are a matter of concern. For the coming quarter, we are working on our plans to deal with the weak consumer sentiment as well as the impact of recent regulatory measures introduced in the financing of gold imports.”
During the June quarter, the Tata group company’s revenues from jewellery business increased 47.2% to Rs2,614.16 crore fuelled by drop in gold prices in April and a good wedding season during the first quarter. The watches business grew 11.4% to Rs401.65 crore, impacted by lower discretionary spend. Eyewear, precision engineering and accessories grew by 37.5% to Rs123.21 crore.
Retail expansion continued with a net addition of 15 stores across all its businesses in the June quarter, with retail area of over 1.3 million square feet. The company’s retail chain is 968 stores strong as on 30 June 2013.