Indian industrialist Ratan Tata made headlines once again on Thursday, September 1, 2022, when his petition seeking a probe into 2010 leaked audio tapes with Niira Radia came up for hearing after eight years in the Supreme Court.

The audio tapes, which were leaked in 2010, were telephonic conversations between Nirra Radia and several government officials, industrialists, journalists and others as part of a tax investigation. Following the leak, Ratan Tata had sought a copy of the government’s report on the source of the leak. Let’s take a look at five quick facts about the leaked audio tapes.

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The leaked audio tapes were part of a tax investigation

A tax investigation was conducted by the Indian Income Tax department, who after getting permission from the Home Ministry, tapped Niira Radia’s phone for 300 days. The investigation was in connection with potential money laundering, tax evasion and illegal financial practices.

The leaked tapes were first carried by the OPEN magazine

The OPEN magazine published a story named Some Telephone Conversations, which included the transcripts of telephone calls between Niira Radia and several influential people in the country. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) later announced that the federal agency holds more than 5,000 tapes of Radia’s conversations.

Source of the leak

While it is yet to be verified, an Indian investigative journalist named Josy Joseph revealed in an interview with Hindustan Times in 2016 that the tapes were not leaked by the government but by a rival lobbying organisation. He also said that the move was because of settling internal rivalries between the two.

Joseph also wrote about it in his book A Feast of Vultures: The Hidden Business of Democracy in India.

The Radia tapes are also associated with the 2G Spectrum scam

The leaked tapes between Niira Radia and several prominent figures in India also had some information about the 2G Spectrum scam. Radia herself is not an accused in the scam, however, she appeared to have been trying to broker deals in connection to the sale of 2G Spectrum. 

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The tapes revealed information about several accused persons and became a precursor to the case.

1. People associated with the leaked Radia tapes

Apart from Ratan Tata and his Tata Group, the Radia Tapes are also associated with several Indian politicians, government officials, journalists and others. Among the most famous among these are Barkha Dutt, Prabhu Chawla, M Kanimozhi and Navika Kumar.