New Delhi: Putting an end to the tussle over right of phone tapping, the Finance as well as Home Ministry has given their nod that Income Tax department will continue to retain the power of tapping telephone conversations.
“The issues relating to the phone tapping right have been resolved. Power of interception stays with the Chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and no changes will be made further,” Sudhir Chandra, the outgoing Chairman of CBDT said on Tuesday.

In the wake of leakage of phone tapes of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, the government was considering that CBDT should be removed from the list of agencies that can intercept phone calls. Chandra said CBDT was given right of phone tapping in 2006 and whatever misgiving about it has ended.

Referring to the issue of standard procedures on phone tapping raised by the Home Ministry, Chandra said, "Those standard procedures already exist."

It may be recalled that after the telephone conversation of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia was made public, the Prime Minister Office (PMO) had constituted an inter-ministerial committee to probe the matter. The Committee of Secretaries had suggested the power of interception of phone calls should go with the Home Ministry instead of CBDT.

The Finance Ministry, however, opposed the move saying that the excluding CBDT from its right will make difficult for the department to curtail tax evasion.

On the question of his meeting with Yog Guru Baba Ramdev, Chandra said, “The government respects Ramdev’s view. Ramdevji's suggestions were constructive and good ideas should be considered by the government."

Meanwhile, Prakash Chandra took over as the new CBDT Chairman on Tuesday.