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Wednesday 2 November 2011

Radia tapes to be seen, not heard, in museum

Radia tapes to be seen, not heard, in museum
Niira Radia
New Delhi, Nov. 1: The controversial Niira Radia tapes are set to go on display at the CBI museum but the transcripts will remain out of sight.
“We have planned to exhibit only the Radia tapes in our museum along with other high-profile cases. At one point, the tapes were more in the news than the spectrum allocation scam. The tapes will be displayed only after the trial is over,” a senior CBI official said.
The tapes feature purported conversations between Niira Radia, the corporate lobbyist who on Sunday shut down her consultancy business, and journalists, politicians and industrialists. They are part of the 5,851 calls allegedly intercepted by the income tax department as part of the probe into the 2G scam.
“We do not want to display the transcripts as it involves right to privacy and will also lead to major controversy,” the official said.
The museum, located on the sixth floor of the new CBI headquarters, was inaugurated by the Prime Minister this April. As of now, it showcases the case history and photographs of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination as well as some statues and pictures of historical artefacts like the sword of Tipu Sultan.
Similar material on other high-profile cases investigated by the CBI such as the Bihar fodder scam involving Lalu Prasad, 1999 Kandahar hijack, Bombay blasts and the Telgi stamp scam, will soon find a place in the museum.
Radia, who also holds a British passport, is witness no. 44 in the 2G case. She had made a 19-page statement to the CBI.
A senior CBI officer said her statement was filed under CrPC Section 161, which is not admissible in court. “Her statement will be significant and credible only if she appears as witness in the special court and stands by what she told us.”
What if she turns hostile?
“We don’t think she will because she willingly agreed to become a witness after she was questioned in the case. We never forced her. She assured us that wherever she was she would come to the court as a witness,” the official said.

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