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Ratan Tata claims Radia Tapes’ violated privacy: Karanjawala, perhaps Salve, to rep

Karanjawala & Company partner Manik Karanjawala is representing Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata who has approached the Supreme Court today about the Nira Radia tapes that he alleges violated his privacy, reported the Indian Express.

According to media reports Tata had approached the Supreme Court claiming that the recordings infringed upon his constitutional Right to Life, which includes the right to privacy. He alleges that some of the conversations between him and super-lobbyist Radia were personal in nature that are not related to the 2G scam investigation as part of which they were released.

Citing unnamed sources the Indian Express speculated that senior counsel Harish Salve may be roped in to appear for Tata in court.

The tapes were made by the income tax department during investigations in 2008 and 2009 and number over 5,000 call recordings of Radia, who represented the Tata Group, Mukesh Ambani, the Congress Party and former telecoms minister A Raja. The Central Bureau of Investigations is currently examining the tapes, of which only roughly 104 are in the public domain, according to news magazine Tehelka.

The tapes between Radia and Tata were published on Open Magazine’s website almost two weeks ago, although the Tata transcripts now appear to have been taken offline. Outlook India is still carrying the transcripts and recordings of the Radia-Tata conversations. In one of the tapes Tata was stuck on board a delayed commercial airline flight from Israel and Radia was commiserating with Tata, and joking about details of the press’ reports on Raja’s love life and the erstwhile minister’s reactions.

The tapes have become infamous not only for the candour of the conversations between Radia and India’s most powerful in business, politics and the media, but also for the initial reticence of the mainstream press except for two magazines to cover the shadow it cast on the media’s relationship with the lobbyist.

However, according to Tehelka the conversations had already been leaked shortly after the wiretaps were made in 2008, at which point a number of newspapers published portions of the documents. This was followed by some of the actors in the tapes denying the transcripts’ authenticity and the stories were retracted. After activist advocate Prashanth Bhushan included the tapes as evidence as part of the 2G scam Supreme Court case, however, Open Magazine and Outlook India re-published portions of the tapes because they were now in the “public domain”.

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