Middlemen in every walk of life, Supreme Court fumes NEW DELHI: "Can citizens expect fair governance," asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday, exasperated by the repeated reference to alleged involvement of middlemen in the Radia tapes, a cache of intercepted phone conversations of former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia with businessmen, politicians, journalists and bureaucrats. After going through the court-appointed team's analysis of transcripts of all 5,831 telephone intercepts, the CBI's 2G scam probe team through senior advocate KK Venugopal said the alleged "criminality" indicated in award of Air India contracts and acceptance of post-retirement assignments in private companies by babus, who had officially dealt with issues relating to them, needed to be investigated by lodging separate cases. A bench of Justices GS Singhvi and V Gopala Gowda agreed with Venugopal that all these conversations which revealed "criminality" in various issues having "far reaching impact on the administration of the whole country" must be investigated thoroughly by lodging separate cases. It also asked additional solicitor general Paras Kuhad to submit that part of the analysis and the Radia tapes which related to Air India purchases to a coordinate bench hearing a petition by NGO 'Centre for Public Interest Litigation' (CPIL), which has alleged that irregularity in purchase and leasing of aircraft for Air India and dubious allotment of air routes had cost the exchequer nearly Rs 50,000 crore. The bench also said that the conversations, if true, indicated presence of "arms dealers in every walk of life". "If that is the situation, can citizens expect fair governance," it asked in exasperation, especially after finding that these conversations indicating brazen disregard for rule of law had been in possession of authorities for years yet no action was taken on it. In the telecom sector, Venugopal referred to a top bureaucrat and said, "See the coincidence. So far as this gentleman is concerned, the lady was directly acting for the company and this man immediately after retirement becomes her employee. It is so clear how it is manipulated. This gentleman forms opinion who should be appointed in the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC). The proposal for investigation should be accepted in this case." Justices Singhvi and Gowda said the conversations indicated that "people were making the law obsolete". Venugopal agreed and said, "A rot has set in and warrants intervention by the court." On the issues referred to in the conversation concerning purchases by state governments, Venugopal said these matters even though related to state could also be looked into by CBI as a constitution bench of the apex court had settled the law that higher judiciary could ask the central agency to investigate certain matters even in the absence of the state's consent. CPIL counsel Prashant Bhushan said the inaction of the authorities to investigate criminality revealed in the intercepted telephone conversations was mainly because the contents were kept a closely guarded secret. "If it had come out in the open, then there would have been public pressure on the authorities to investigate the issues," he said and suggested that separate FIRs should be registered in those cases where criminality had been revealed. The court could not proceed with the hearing on the issue why no steps were taken earlier on criminality revealed in Radia tape and who was responsible for not informing higher authorities about contents of the intercepted conversations because additional solicitor general PP Malhotra was not briefed properly by the income tax department. The hearing will continue on Wednesday. Middlemen in every walk of life, Supreme Court fumes - The Times of India ***************************** If this is the state of affairs, can citizens really expect any honest governance? To imagine businessmen, politicians, journalists and bureaucrats.are all in cahoots to rob the nation of its civilisational integrity. Every action of the Govt appears to have been mired with criminality. If indeed it has to be investigated honestly (which for starters will not be done, given that all investigation agencies are compromised handmaidens), then there will be a multitude of cases for the multitude of scams that the tapes will surface. And why it will never be done honestly is that too many prominent heads will roll and be shamed!