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Thread: Assets of ministers, kin exempted from RTI queries: PMO

  1. #21
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    Re: Assets of ministers, kin exempted from RTI queries: PMO


    As reported by PTI in ndtv.com on 06 September 2010:
    Showcause notice to PMO for non-compliance of CIC orders

    Showcause notice to PMO for non-compliance of CIC orders

    New Delhi: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has issued a show-cause notice to the Prime Minister's Office regarding "non-compliance" of its order relating to disclosure of union ministers' assets.

    "The Commission has directed the CPIO in Prime Minister's Office to dispose complaint within 10 days. ....the appellant has been repeatedly approaching the Commission stating...that the requested information has not been provided," the Commission said in its notice.

    It directed the Central Public Information Officer to "submit an action taken report specifically in regard to the non-compliance of the order" by September 10.

    The case relates to S C Agrawal who sought to know from the Cabinet Secretariat the information on assets, wealth and income of all union ministers. The matter was later referred to the PMO.

    The Commission had on June 7 this year directed the PMO to disclose the assets of union ministers after getting clearance from the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Rajya Sabha Chairman.

    The Commission had directed the PMO to complete the exercise within 10 days of receiving the decision.

    "Failure to receive a response within a reasonable time will, however, be construed as acquiescence in the light of previous decisions given by each of the heads of both Houses," Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said on a plea of Agrawal.

    Habibullah directed the Prime Minister's Office to refer the RTI application with respect to those ministers who are Lok Sabha Members to Speaker Meira Kumar and those who are Members of Rajya Sabha to Chairman Hamid Ansari for permission to disclose the assets and liabilities of the ministers.

    The CIC has said that after getting requisite details the information would be furnished to Agrawal.

    But the PMO even after getting the necessary orders from the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha did not provide the details, alleged Agrawal before the Commission.


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  2. #22
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    Re: Assets of ministers, kin exempted from RTI queries: PMO


    As reported by Swaraj Thapa at indianexpress.com on Sep 08 2010

    RTI effect: Ministers will have to declare latest assets


    New Delhi : Forced by an RTI application, the government today decided to declare the assets and liabilities of Union ministers on demand by the public.
    The Union Cabinet approved a proposal to adopt norms for greater transparency after RTI activist Subhash Agrawal asked the Central Information Commission (CIC) to issue a notice to the PMO for not providing details of assets of ministers and their kin following an RTI application.

    Agrawal complained of “non-compliance” by the PMO after it failed to provide “complete details of wealth and assets of ministers” despite a CIC order.

    Sources said that the Cabinet approved the proposal without much discussion, though ministers have in the past ignored reminders by the PMO to annually update declared records of their wealth. The PMO had issued such a directive after the government was formed in May 2009.

  3. #23
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    Re: Assets of ministers, kin exempted from RTI queries: PMO


    Great news, if actually complied with.

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    Re: Assets of ministers, kin exempted from RTI queries: PMO



    As reported by Chetan Chauhan in hindustantimes.com on 10 September 2010:
    Ministers' assets made public - Hindustan Times

    Ministers' assets made public

    Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel is the richest cabinet minister in UPA-II whereas Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee is among the poorest. The Prime Ministers' Office has provided details of assets and liabilities of 77 ministers in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's council, submitted for the first
    time under the Right to Information Act.

    The ministers are required to submit details of their assets and liabilities to the Prime Minister's Office every year.

    Getting the information was not easy for RTI activist Subhash Chandra Aggarwal, who sought the information in January 2009. The PMO had initially refused, saying it was the ministers' private information and therefore, could not be shared under the law.

    Chandra filed an appeal with the Central Information Commission, which overruled the PMO's decision last month asked its Public Information Officer Sanjukta Rat to seek the consent of individual ministers on revealing the information.

    On Monday, the cabinet agreed to provide the data and by Thursday, it was delivered to Chandra.

    "It is victory for transparency and honesty of the Prime Minister," he said.

    Chandra also demanded that the annual details of assets and wealth of all Parliamentarians be put on a website to improve transparency in governance.

    As per the data, the top ministers of UPA-II who have assets of more than Rs 1 crore include Home Minister P Chidambaram, Finance Minister S M Krishna, Finance Minister Pranab Mukerjee and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma.
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    Want to know how ministers park money?


    As reported by HIMANSHI DHAWAN at economictimes.indiatimes.com on 11 SEP, 2010

    New Delhi: Ever wondered what makes our politicians tick? If some prefer to dabble in the share market, some enjoy swanky cars while others indulge in artistic pursuits.

    Road minister Kamal Nath is among those who is keen on investments in the bourses. For instance, Nath and his family have shares in over 60 companies, including DLF, Larsen & Tubro, Dish TV, HDFC, Punj Lloyd, Reliance Power and Ambuja Cement.

    Food minister Sharad Pawar has investments in Wipro, United Spirits Limited, and Lap Finance and Consultancy. His NCP colleague and civil aviation minister Praful Patel and his family has investments in nearly 10 companies.

    External affairs minister S M Krishna and his wife own shares in Infosys, Ranbaxy and Zee Telefilms. Steel minister Virbhadra Singh has invested in nearly 33 financial instruments.

    On the other end of the spectrum is environment minister Jairam Ramesh who has a bank balance of only Rs 29 in one of his bank accounts. The data has been collated from information received through RTI by applicant S C Agrawal, who had asked for details of assets and liabilities of the council of ministers and their families. The PMO has recently made public over 400 pages of information relating to 2008-2009.

    No wonder, oil minister Murli Deora is known as a long-time Gandhi family loyalist. He is a member of 11 trusts, a majority of which belongs to the Gandhi family.

    TOP OF THE HEAP

    A majority of the council of ministers are conservative when it comes to investment. Land and property is the choice for most. Sample this:

    Chemicals minister and DMK leader M K Alagiri and his family have declared ownership of 22 properties in Tamil Nadu.

    HRD minister Kapil Sibal owns 12 properties in Chandigarh, Patna, Secundarabad, Gurgaon and Faridabad.

    Kantilal Bhuria has six properties including three houses and plots each in Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh. His wife owns seven properties.

    MoS (petroleum and natural gas) Jitin Prasada has 10 properties in Nainital, Shajahanabad and Lucknow.

    Housing minister Kumari Selja has eight plots of agriculture and nonagriculture land in Sonepat, Gurgaon and Faridabad in Haryana.

    Former minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor has an apartment in New York’s Madison Avenue worth $2.4 million.

  6. #26
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    Re: Assets of ministers, kin exempted from RTI queries: PMO


    As reported in indianexpress.com on 22 November 2010:
    Raja's stock investments soar 170%

    Raja's stock investments soar 170%

    Former Telecom Minister A Raja's investment in shares and fixed deposits have increased by nearly 170 per cent from 8.52 lakh to a little over Rs 23 lakh during one year, annual property returns of the Ministers provided by Prime Minister's Office in an RTI reply show.
    In the year 2008-09, the minister has invested Rs 8.52 lakh in shares while his wife had an investment of 3.04 lakh in the shares but in the year ending March 31, 2010, Raja's investments in shares increased to a little over Rs 23 lakh.

    His spouse's investment have also increase by Rs Six lakh, the property returns filed by the Minister show.

    The details came through the reply to an RTI application filed by S C Agrawal seeking to know the latest asset details of the Ministers of the Union Cabinet.

    Raja, who resigned following the controvesy surrounding alleged corruption in the allotment of telecom spectrum, invested in 19 companies including Public Sector Undertakings, airlines, software companies among others.

    Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee who had declared assets worth Rs 6.7 Lakh last year has shown an increase of nearly 40 per cent with declared properties and cash touching little over Rs 10 lakh this year.

    Defence Minister A K Antony's movable property showed a marginal dip this year. Antony had declared Rs 1.8 lakh in his two bank accounts but this year his account had a little over Rs 84,000 only.

    One of the richest member of Union Council of Ministers, Minister of state for Commerce and Industry Jyotiraditya Scindia has also shown a marginal increase in his assets from Rs 22.7 crore in 2009 to Rs 24 crore this year, the reply showed.

    Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's movable and immovable properties have shown a marginal increase from Rs one crore during fiscal ending 2009 to Rs 1.10 crore during 2010. Although his three out of four properties have not shown any increment in their value, his ancestoral property has shown an increase of about Rs 16,000.

    Home Minister P Chidambaram's declaration also showed a similar trend with his assets growing marginally from Rs 10.3 crore to Rs 10.4 crore this year. The Minister also took advance of Rs 3.5 lakh, the RTI reply shows.

    Commerce and Industries Minister Anand Sharma's assets increased by nearly 29 per cent from Rs 2.6 crore in 2009 to 3.4 crore in fiscal ending March 31, 2010.
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    Re: Assets of ministers, kin exempted from RTI queries: PMO


    As reported in economictimes.indiatimes.com on 23 November 2010:
    UPA2: Praful richest and Mamata poorest minister - The Economic Times

    UPA2: Praful richest and Mamata poorest minister


    NEW DELHI: The income and asset details furnished by ministers to Prime Minister’s Office for 2009-10 have some surprising claims. Textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran, whose family owns a media empire, is worth just Rs 6.87 crore. His assets include a Mercedes E class valued at Rs 8.10 lakh and a Toyota Innova at Rs 12.24 lakh.

    He is not the only who has modest assets. Minister of new and renewable energy Farooq Abdullah earns a paltry Rs 100 from two kanals (equivalent to 1,011.714 square metres) of land in Srinagar. What is intriguing is that he earns not even a single penny from 45 kanals (22,764 square metres) of orchard. Dr Abdullah has refused to give details about the market value of land and bungalows he owns, making his overall worth just Rs 2.5 lakh.

    Thanks to his non-disclosure, he is poorer than railway minister Mamata Banerjee , who has conscientiously declared gold jewllery and all other possessions worth Rs 10.28 lakh.

    Dr Abdullah has refused to spell out any cash certificates, ornaments and other possessions of his family, including his wife: “Since my family is away in London from April 1990, I have no knowledge about the items shown as cash certificates/ ornaments. After ascertaining the facts, information will be made available.”

    There are quite a few surprises in the 450 pages of information disclosed by PMO under Right to Information (RTI) Act to activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal. Former telecom minister A Raja, whose role in 2G spectrum allocation is under the scanner, is worth Rs 1.95 crore. He is poorer than Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (Rs 4.86 crore), law minister M Veerappa Moily (Rs 3.07 crore) and several others. HRD minister Kapil Sibal , whose net worth is Rs 29.22 crore, has declared Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Sonata, Suzuki Jeep, Enfield motorcycle and Reva electric car, among other possessions.

    Though PMO has made it mandatory for all Cabinet ministers to declare income and assets as soon as they assume office, there is no set format of such a declaration. For instance, many Cabinet ministers like Krishna Tirath have not declared the net worth of gold jewellery and silver owned by them, restricting it just to the weight.

    Minority affairs minister Salman Khurshid and his family have shares in cold storage at Pitaura in Kaimganj, Uttar Pradesh. However, he has refrained from mentioning the exact worth in rupees of this share restricting himself to percentage share statistics only.

    Minister of state Srikant Jena, with a declared income and asset value of Rs 64.16 lakh, has not mentioned any value for over four acres owned by him. Similarly, minister of overseas Indian affairs Vayalar Ravi owns assets worth Rs 18.68 lakh but has not mentioned the worth of 30 cents (1,214 square metres) of land and 900 grams of gold.

    “Ministers are not filing their asset information on time. I had applied for information under RTI Act on September 10. I got the details more than two months later on November 18. When I did not receive the reply after the mandatory 30-days, I had gone for appeal and PMO sought more time for furnishing this information. The details from ministers were hurriedly gathered and sent across,” RTI activist Agrawal said.
    Twitter: @cjkarira

  8. #28
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    Re: Assets of ministers, kin exempted from RTI queries: PMO


    Dear Sir,
    The declared assests through the Media, do you think, is the real only assests owned by the concerned Ministers. It is only a tip of the ice berg. When the saturation point arried then the Ministers/Politicians will think to invest in the names of ther kith & kins which are not in the scanner. Taking loopholes in the law, they utilize the maximum opportunity to put a lid on the real value of assests owned by the Politicians & Ministers. General public is running from pillar to post to met their both ends and where they will get enough time to scrutinize such dubious activities the Ministers/Politicians. We can get some news through the media when there is some rivaliary or other compelling circumstances. Why not the E.D and I.T Deptt., file suo-motto cases when they find there is wealth disproportionate to their known source of income ? When a lower grade clerk indulges in taking Rs.100/- it matters for the authorities however, big wigs are allowed to play freely.

    MOHANDAS.
    Quote Originally Posted by Atul Patankar View Post
    As reported by Swaraj Thapa at indianexpress.com on Sep 08 2010

    RTI effect: Ministers will have to declare latest assets

    New Delhi : Forced by an RTI application, the government today decided to declare the assets and liabilities of Union ministers on demand by the public.
    The Union Cabinet approved a proposal to adopt norms for greater transparency after RTI activist Subhash Agrawal asked the Central Information Commission (CIC) to issue a notice to the PMO for not providing details of assets of ministers and their kin following an RTI application.

    Agrawal complained of “non-compliance” by the PMO after it failed to provide “complete details of wealth and assets of ministers” despite a CIC order.

    Sources said that the Cabinet approved the proposal without much discussion, though ministers have in the past ignored reminders by the PMO to annually update declared records of their wealth. The PMO had issued such a directive after the government was formed in May 2009.

  9. #29
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    Re: Assets of ministers, kin exempted from RTI queries: PMO


    Dear Sir

    Thanks for the information. At last the PMO office mentally prepared to act upon the advice of the Hon'ble CIC. This is the power of RTI Act 2005 in its right perspective. Let us derive maximum benefit out of the different provisions of the Powerful act. Thanks to the team.

    Mohandas.

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