PMO refuses to share Vadra deal info

PMO refuses to share Vadra deal info

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) considers “confidential” the records pertaining to an affidavit filed by it in the Allahabad High Court on a petition seeking a probe into the allegations regarding the controversial land deals involving Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra. Hence, the PMO says they cannot be shared.

The PMO’s assertion has come in response to an RTI query filed by Lucknow-based social activist Nutan Thakur. She wanted know from the PMO the action taken by it on the receipt of the writ petition and sought all the copies of the note sheet of the file opened in the PMO with regard to the matter.

Thakur had last year filed a writ petition in the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, seeking a probe into the allegations levelled against Vadra by Aam Admi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal.

The court had dismissed the petition after hearing the Central government counsel, who pleaded that the petitioner had filed the petition on the basis of newspaper reports, which could not be considered true.

The affidavit filed by the PMO in the court had rejected the allegations as false.
The Lucknow-based activist had later sought to know through an RTI application all the file notings related to the affidavit and the action taken after the petition was received by the PMO.

The PMO had earlier claimed that the information could not be shared as the matter was sub-judice. Thakur, however, mentioned in the second RTI application that the matter had been disposed of by the court, and that there was no bar on sharing the information now.
In its reply, S E Rizvi, Deputy Secretary and Central Public Information Officer, said: “The office, keeping in view the Supreme Court ruling, has sought exemption as the matter is treated as confidential.”

It quoted a Supreme Court decision in the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India vs Shaunak H Satya case, which was related to the issue of “fiduciary relation ( a relationship in which one person is under a duty to act for the benefit of the other matters within the scope of the relationship).”

“The exemption under Section 8(1)(e) is available not only in regard to information that is held by public authority in a fiduciary capacity, but also to any information that is given or made available by a public authority to anyone else for being held in fiduciary relationship. In other words, anything given and taken in confidence expecting confidentiality to be maintained will be information made available to a person in fiduciary relationship,” the verdict had said.

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