New Delhi, July 20: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has pulled up the CBI for denying information to a right to information (RTI) applicant on cash-for-query TV sting operation in which MPs were accused of taking bribes for asking questions in Parliament.
The panel headed by Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah termed the denial of information as "symptomatic of a larger malaise which is an unsystematic servicing of the Right to Information by the CBI" and directed the agency to provide the details within 10 days.
Chennai-based J Mohanraj, general secretary of Jebamani Janata Party, had filed as many as five applications with the CBI last year seeking details on various counts including action taken on his complaint relating to the TV expose.
He had also asked for information on the constitution of Multi-disciplinary Management Authority (MDMA) to probe the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and the officers who had been allegedly "globetrotting" to probe the case and the expenses involved in their foreign jaunts.
The applicant sought details whether political leaders, including Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy and Subbulakshmi Jagadeesan of the DMK, had been examined by the CBI in the case.
The Chief Public Information officer of CBI refused to provide information on the ground that the disclosure "would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders".
The agency said the matter on investigation being conducted by MDMA was before a TADA court in Chennai which was holding 'in camera' proceedings.
However, the panel held that the agency had refused the information on "invalid grounds" and directed it to examine the matter afresh. "... He (CPIO) has failed to show how providing the information sought in the application on Rajiv Gandhi Assassination will impede the process of investigation," the CIC said.
The Commission also asked the CBI Director to "immediately initiate a process of restructuring the organisation (on) processing RTI applications to make it user-friendly within a specific time frame." (Agencies)
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