CIC: Disclose action taken on complaint against Patel

IA ex-CMD complained against former minister

The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has been asked by the Central Information Commission (CIC) to make public the action taken on a plea for a probe into a complaint by former Indian Airlines CMD Sunil Arora against former civil aviation minister Praful Patel.

However, Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra, while giving the direction, did not allow the disclosure of original complaint filed by Arora saying it would impede the ongoing investigation even though the CVC had not sought any such exemption in reply as well as at the first appeal stage.

Last August, two Lok Sabha members, Prabodh Panda (CPI) and Nishikant Dubey (BJP), had sought a CVC probe into a letter written in May 2005 by Arora to the then Cabinet Secretary B K Chaturvedi.

The MPs had sought verification and investigation into some “grave irregularities” that allegedly took place during Patel’s tenure which were raised by Arora. In his RTI application, activist Subhash Agrawal had sought from the CVC the details of action taken on the letters given by the two MPs and allegations levelled by Arora against the former aviation minister.

The information was denied by the CVC saying it was held in fiduciary capacity and personal in nature which are exempt from disclosure under the RTI Act.
These arguments, cited by the CVC, to withhold the letters of the MPs were rejected by the CIC.

Directing the CVC to comply with its orders in 15 days, Mishra said: “We do not think that a communication received from the MPs can be classified as either a personal information or as information held in a fiduciary capacity unless they had marked it as confidential/personal.

 It is presumed that the MPs while communicating with the CVC would raise issues only in larger public interest.

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