According to a Jan. 31 report by India Private Limited, the controversial leaked transcripts of phone calls between a lobbyist and others, including two journalists, may have been altered.
We wrote in November 2010 about the scandal, in which leaked transcripts implicated two Indian journalists in questionable conversations with lobbyist Niira Radia. The incident was called Radiagate.
The journalists, Hindustan Times’ Vir Sanghvi and NDTV editor Barkha Dutt, who is “known as India’s Oprah,” were reported to have given advice and made connections for the lobbyist.
Both journalists defended their conversations, which reportedly occurred in 2009. In a Nov. 19, 2010 statement, the Hindustan Times noted “the authenticity of these transcripts cannot be ascertained.”
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According to India Private Limited, India’s central government “told the Supreme Court that the versions published in the media of the controversial conversations of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia did not match the original tapes.” The revelation was made during a separate court action filed by “industrialist Ratan Tata, who contended that though his phone was not tapped his privacy was violated because his conversations with Radia were recorded.”
The judge, Justice G. S. Singhvi suggested the “conversations might have been edited,” according to India Private Limited.
According to The Hindu, the solicitor-general Indira Jaising made the discovery and the tapes in question were made by “eight to 10 agencies, including service providers” but that the government didn’t leak the tapes. The Hindustan Times reported that “Radia’s phones were tapped following a complaint accusing her of anti-national activities and of acting as a spy for foreign intelligence agencies.”
We have written to Dutt and Singhvi seeking comment and will update with any response. We have also written to Open and Outlook, the two magazines that published the transcripts in 2010, asking how the outlets verified its transcripts.