Give details of perks, privileges of top bosses: CIC to AI

Information Commissioner Sushma Singh told the officials of National Aviation Company of India Limited (NACIL) - company formed after the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines - to give the details of "pay, perks and privileges" enjoyed by its chairman, managing director and functional directors to RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal. In a reply to his RTI application, NACIL's General Manager, Finance, who should be in the thick of company's financial matters, had said the information about pay and perks of the company's top bosses is not with him.

The Commission also asked the air carrier to transfer the application to Civil Aviation Ministry so that similar details about the Minister could be furnished and provided to Agrawal. The activist had sought the details of pay, perks, privileges and facilities enjoyed by top bosses of Air India, Indian Airlines and Civil Aviation Minister. "We tried our best to obtain the information sought by you but not received the same," NACIL had said in its reply.

As per the RTI Act, information sought cannot be denied unless it comes under exemption clauses listed in the Act. The information cannot be refused without giving any reasons justifying the denial. Air India had earlier admitted that a CMD for some months got issued 121 free air-passes by virtue of including "spouse, children, parents, brothers, sisters, son-in-law, daughter-in-law" in definition of family-members for purpose of free air-travel. Besides seeking details of pays and privileges, Agrawal had also sought details of all the contracts and agreements by Air India or Indian Airlines terminated by them by paying damages or compensation to other party.

Air India had to suffer a loss of Rs 130 crores in 'CaribJet' scandal because of a law-firm drafting the agreement with CaribJet, accused of leasing defective planes to Air India, which was accepted by the officials of the company during the hearing today. The Commission, however, asked Agrawal to be more specific in his query by giving the time period or specific contracts about which he needed the details.

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