dear SN Gupta,
I am reproducing the final order of the CIC. Pl. suggest action to be taken as they too have either come under inflluence of the bureaucrats, or the concerned officials have showed them some fabricated document, as the document on the basis of which action has been taken by them (the document sought by me) does not exist as that was never given to them by the russian customs, and it has to be given to me as it is the relied upon document on the basis of which action has been taken against me. so obtaining that document is my fundamental right.
Central Information Commission
*****No.CIC/OK/A/2007/00555Dated: 26 July 2007Name of the Appellant:Shri Rajeev Verma
New Delhi – 110 058
Name of the Public Authority:Ministry of External Affairs
Background:Shri Rajeev Verma of New Delhi filed an application with the PIO, Ministry of External Affairs, wherein the Appellant stated that on the basis of certain unsubstantiated and contradictory information from the Indian Embassy, the DGRI had taken severe penal action against the Appellant in India and the DRI had in the Show Cause Notice dated 24 December 2004 alleged that consignees in Russia to whom goods were being exported were either non-existent or had no import-export operations. For clearing his name, the Appellant requested for a photocopy of the letter written by the Russian Customs to the Indian Embassy. The CPIO vide his letter dated 22 August 2006 supplied the information. Not satisfied with the information, the Appellant filed an appeal with the first Appellate Authority on 12 September 2006. The bench of Dr. O.P. Kejariwal, Information Commissioner, heard the matter on 16 April 2007.
2. The case concernd the correspondence the Indian Embassy in Russia, had with the Department of Revenue Intelligence. From the two letters presented before the Commission, the stand taken by the Ministry of External Affairs seemed to be self-contradictory and hence the Commission felt that there may be a case of corruption involved in the whole issue. Therefore, although the Act provides for the fact that the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence be kept outside the (DRI) purview of the RTI-Act as listed in Schedule II, the Commission took recourse to Section 2A(1) wherein it is stated:
"Nothing contained in this Act shall apply to the intelligence and security Organisations specified in the Second Schedule, being Organisations established by the Central Government or any information furnished by such Organisations to that Government:
Provided that the information pertaining to the allegations of corruption and human rights violations shall not be excluded under this sub-section:"
3. As this case seemed to fall into the latter category, the Commission felt that the records should be opened up to the Appellant. However, on a submission from the Respondents, the Commission agreed that the documents including the correspondence with the Russian Customs may be placed before the Commission itself in the first instance, which may then take a decision on whether this could be disclosed to the Appellant. The Commission accepted their submission.
4. During the hearing, the Respondents also maintained that much of the correspondence relating to the issue rested with the Indian Embassy in Moscow and that they would require some time to get these over. The Commission agreed that authenticated photocopies of the relevant documents may be got from the Indian Embassy in Moscow and placed before the Commission together with the records that are available here.
5. The Commission decided to call for all the documents on 18 July 2007.
6. Shri A.K. Nag, Joint Secretary, MEA, Shri Deepankar Aron, Joint Director, DRI and Shri Nand Kishore, Under Secretary, MEA, were present at the time of the submission of the documents.
7. The Commission recalled its first hearing in the case. The Appellant had produced before the Commission two letters which amounted to a contradiction in the status of a firm called Eurotag. Whereas in one letter, the statement made was that the firm did not exist, in the other that it did exist. The Appellant while producing these two letters alleged corruption on the part of the Indian Embassy official saying that he had tampered with the documents and introduced this element of contradiction on his own. As this would amount to a case of corruption, the Commission decided to go through the documents itself to ascertain the basis of such a contradiction.
8. Accordingly, the MEA officials including the DRI representative, appeared before the Commission together with the correspondence related to the matter
mentioned above. The Commission went through these documents and was satisfied that whatever the Indian official had noted down and conveyed was exactly what was conveyed by the Russian authorities. There was no element of interpolation, alteration or tampering of any document by any member of the Indian Embassy.
9. The case is hereby dismissed.
Sd/-(O.P. Kejariwal)Authenticated true copy:
Shri Rajeev Verma, B-1/592, Janakpuri, New Delhi-110058.
Shri A.K. Nag, Joint Secretary (Wel & Inf) & CPIO, Room No. 207, Akbar Bhavan, Ministry of External Affairs, Chankyapuri, New Delhi-110021.
Shri Ajay Choudhary, Additional Secretary (PP) & Appellate Authority, Room No. - 144 C, South Block, Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi-110011.
Officer Incharge, NIC
Press E Group, CIC