Disclose corruption complaints against serving Union Ministers: CIC to PMO
The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to disclose complaints of corruption received against Union Ministers between 2014 and 2017 and action taken on them. PMO was asked to share information about the quantum and value of black money brought back from abroad during the tenure of the Modi dispensation, along with records of efforts made in this direction.
Deposits made by govt in bank accounts of Indian citizens
Chief Information Commissioner Radha Krishna Mathur issued the order while deciding on Indian Forest Service officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi's plea. PMO was asked to disclose information related to deposits made by the government in bank accounts of Indian citizens from the black money brought from abroad.
PMI declines to reveal information, CIC rejects PMO's contention
The PMO termed the questions asked by Chaturvedi, in his RTI application related to black money and deposits in citizens' bank accounts, as not covered in the definition of "information" which can be accessed under the Right to Information Act. The Commissioner, however, rejected the contention. Mathur said the PMO "has wrongly stated" in the reply that the questions are not covered under "information".
Chaturvedi also sought information on various govt schemes
In his RTI application, Chaturvedi had also sought information on various schemes of the BJP-led government such as 'Make in India', 'Skill India', 'Swachh Bharat', and 'Smart City Project', which were transferred to the Ministries concerned by the PMO. Not getting a satisfactory response from the PMO, Chaturvedi filed an appeal before the Central Information Commission, the highest appellate body on RTI matters.
PMO didn't give specific information regarding corruption complaints: Mathur
During the hearing, Chaturvedi told the Commission that he had sought specific information regarding a certified copy of complaints submitted to the Prime Minister against the corruption of serving Union Ministers which should be provided to him. The Commission observed that the PMO didn't give correct or specific information and details regarding the sought corruption complaints against Ministers, Mathur noted.
Chaturvedi's letter alleging corruption against officials of AIIMS
CIC also directed PMO to disclose action taken on Chaturvedi's letter alleging corruption against officials of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and a Union Health Minister's purported role in it. Chaturvedi earlier raised the issue of alleged corruption in the erstwhile Congress government in Haryana and a forestry scam case in which fake plantations were allegedly carried out across the state.
Chaturvedi faced harassment from the state government
Facing purported harassment from the then Haryana government, Chaturvedi appealed to the central government which formed a committee in the Union Environment Ministry in 2010. The committee's report had also found merit in the contentions of Chaturvedi. The Ministry also confirmed the harassment of Chaturvedi and recommended quashing of cases against him which were quashed by the President.
Chaturvedi was appointed AIIMS's Chief Vigilance Officer by UPA govt
Chaturvedi was then brought to the AIIMS as Chief Vigilance Officer by the Congress-led UPA government and his work to contain corruption at the prestigious institute was termed outstanding by the then Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. In August 2014, Chaturvedi was relieved from AIIMS and sent to Uttarakhand where he is serving as a Conservator of Forests.