12 Hours Ago
Should NATGRID, the center of integrated intelligence information, be so secretive?
National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) developed by C-DAC Pune, is a centralised and integrated data base system to monitor details of a potential suspect through his database. These personal details are procured through banks, credit cards, internet, cell phones, immigration, motor vehicle licenses, National Crime Records Bureau, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and Income Tax (I-T) Department.
A group of central and state agencies, which collated the information and made it available at NATGRID, accesses these details. It has the ability to provide a complete profile of the suspect’s movements. The government agency called NATGRID has its headquarters in Delhi and was established post the 26/11 Mumbai Terror attack. It aims to nab Headley-like characters by accessing their personal details and nipping terror in the bud.
However, NATGRID, since its inception in 2011 has been caught in a vortex of controversy. As per Intelligence Bureau (IB) reports, its chief executive Raghu Raman, was allegedly involved in personal and professional misconduct involving foreign nationals during his five year tenure because of which his contract was not renewed recently. Considering that he was paid a fat salary of Rs10 lakh odd per month (highest for any babu?) and has a team of 20 or more which is paid between Rs1 lakh to Rs2.5 lakh a month, it is expected that the citizen has the right to know about the public money that is being lavishly spent.
The current financial outlay is Rs1,000 crore for this project so should the public be kept in the dark? Newspapers have recently reported that very little has progressed since 2011 although 70 people have been appointed at various levels.
In June 2011, as soon as NATGRID became operational, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government notified it as ‘exempt organisation’ under Section 24 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Venkatesh Nayak, RTI activist and programme coordinator of National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information (NCPRI) says, “Even information provided by NATGRID to the central government is out of the RTI ambit under Section 24. Under RTI, it can only furnish information about allegations of human rights violation or allegations of corruption. Even this information has to be approved by the Central Information Commission.”
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