This Article is From Apr 19, 2011

2G scam: Who will listen to 15,000 tapped calls?

New Delhi: It was Niira Radia's phone line that connected investigators to India's biggest scam - the corporate lobbyist's conversations with industrialists and politicians suggested a conspiracy that was allowing companies ineligible for spectrum and mobile network licenses to acquire them at jaw-dropping prices.

Ms Radia's conversations are being used as evidence in the 2G scam. But what has the CBI worried is there are 15,000 more conversations headed its way - and they all need to be transcribed.

Ms Radia's phone was tapped in 2008 and again in 2009 as part of an income tax investigation. When the Supreme Court ordered last year that the 2G spectrum scam be investigated more vigorously and urgently, the CBI listened to and transcribed 5800 calls. Now, another 15,000 conversations are being delivered by Income Tax officials to the CBI. Some allegedly involve hawala money operators - those who helped key players involved with the 2G scam launder money.

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Sources in the CBI say the agency has neither the manpower nor the time to spend on listening to and documenting thousands of calls. The Income Tax department -which has transcribed about 30 calls totally - in turn says these calls are none of its business - the 2G scam is being handled by the CBI.

While the CBI may protest about the scope of work looming ahead, officials say they cannot afford to dismiss the conversations. So someone will have to do the dirty work. The question now is who?