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Lokayukta's son gets RTI reply within hours

Ambarish B, Bengaluru, July 2, 2015, DHNS: 8:34 IST

... while complainants struggle to get info

Lokayukta Justice Bhaskar Rao's son, Ashwin
Citizens and activists wait for days, sometimes months, to obtain information under the RTI Act. But for Lokayukta Justice Bhaskar Rao’s son, Ashwin, it was a matter of few hours.

Ashwin obtained all documents, related to the case of corruption in the anti-graft ombudsman, under the RTI Act from the Lokayukta Registrar’s office on June 30, the very day he filed a writ petition before the Karnataka High Court. A copy of the Lokayukta’s letter dated June 28 to the State government recommending constitution of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) has also been issued to Ashwin.

But members of Janadhikara Sangharsha Parishath (JSP) are still waiting for a reply on their RTI applications, the first of which was filed on June 18. The Lokayukta office has a standard reply for them, “There is time till 30 days”.

The JSP had submitted a complaint before Upalokayukta Subash Adi about corruption within the Lokayukta.

The complaint cited contents of a letter by SP (Lokayukta) Sonia Narang dated May 11, which stated that a few people were indulging in nefarious activities which could bring disrepute to the institution.

The other documents given to Ashwin are: Lokayukta’s June 9 order directing IGP Pronab Mohanty to hold an enquiry, complaint filed by JSP before the Upalokayukta on June 17, Lokayukta’s June 26 order handing over the probe to CCB and Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) M Chandrashekar’s June 27 letter to the Lokayukta.

All details were sought from the Lokayukta Registrar, H R Deshpande, on a single application bearing number 803/2015.

The first application filed by the complainants had sought details about CCTV surveillance at the Lokayukta office and the recording system. They filed one more application on June 29 seeking the Lokayukta’s June 9 order for enquiry along with relevant information.

“On Thursday, we again visited the Lokayukta office and enquired at the RTI section. The officials said that there is still time. This clearly shows the ulterior motives which is a result of nefarious activities happening probably from the day Justice Rao assumed office.

When an information is sought under RTI, then every applicant should be treated equally. There is a special provision which entitles the applicant to receive information within 48 hours on the ground of right to life as per section 7 (1) of RTI Act. Even then, what stops the public authority to issue the same to other applicants,” said Adarsh R Iyer of the JSP.

Former Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde said, “If son (Ashwin) gets the documents within no time under RTI and the complainants do not get it, then it is nothing but favouritism.”

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