New Delhi: The Supreme Court today took serious note of the leakage of the report of the apex court- appointed probe team which had analysed the transcripts of tapped conversations of former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia with corporates, politicians and others.
The court said it will take up the issue of the contents appearing becoming public when the matter will be heard.
"We will take up this matter to begin with," a bench comprising justices G S Singhvi and V Gopala Gowda said and expressed anguish that despite being made clear that the contents of the report have to be kept secret they have come out in the media.
The bench said, "everyday we are putting the seal". Otherwise it would cast doubt on the staff also. "If this is happening, better we take up the seal from it (report)," it further said.
"If the newspapers get hold of this report they will certainly publish it. We all know the reasons," it observed.
Though the matter had not reached the board for hearing and when the bench was about to rise for the day, senior advocate Harish Salve drew the attention of the judges to the leakage of the report.
"Something serious has happened. When the report is in a sealed cover it has been published on Saturday," he said adding that "the officers who have leaked this information are accountable to the court as this is something which the court was seized with".
The senior advocate said CVC should be asked to find out how the report has been leaked. He also said the petition filed by Ratan Tata on the Radia tape was for protecting the fundamental right to privacy.
"We will take up the matter and appropriately deal with it," the bench said.
It said senior advocate K K Venugopal, who has been appearing for the CBI on the issue of 2G spectrum matter in which the issue of Radia tapes cropped up, has been very careful in reading the probe reports.
"Venugopal has been very discreet when he has been reading the report and never mentioned any names," the bench said.
Venugopal also said the court can pass order for investigation into the leakage of report.
Salve said when the court has asked to maintain confidentiality of the report, media has to be in harmony with other institution.
"It is mockery of the institution and the procedure," he said while referring to media report which mentioned the 10 items from the probe report allegedly involving criminality in them.
The conversations were recorded as part of surveillance of Radia's phone on a complaint to the Finance Minister on November 16, 2007 alleging that within a span of nine years she had built up a business empire worth Rs 300 crore.
The government had recorded 180 days of Radia's conversations--first from August 20, 2008 onwards for 60 days and then from October 19 for another 60 days. Later, on May 11, 2009, her phone was again put on surveillance for another 60 days following a fresh order given on May 8.
The apex court had ordered setting up of a team of investigators to examine the contents of the conversations.
The court had perused the report and transcripts prepared by the special team of investigators and said that "some of the items highlighted will become the subject matter of investigation".