Mere mention of corruption can`t bring intelligence under RTI
New Delhi, Jan 13: A mere allegation of corruption not backed by credible evidence would not be sufficient to direct the country`s intelligence organisations to reveal information under the RTI Act, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has held.
The right to information law that has categorically immunised certain security and intelligence organisations from disclosure of information is specific that in cases of alleged corruption or human rights violations against them, they could be asked to open up.
In an apparent safeguard for such bodies, as listed in schedule two of the RTI Act, the CIC has held that if allegations of corruption were to be made out against them, credible evidence needs to be adduced in that regard.
"Mere mention of corruption would not amount to a full-fledged allegation, unless there was re-reinforcing evidence. An allegation of corruption cannot be lightly made," information commissioner A N Tiwari said in a recent order.
The order came in respect of an application of Ludhiana resident S P Goyal, who had sought from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) examination of documents pertaining to its investigation of financial fraud against his company.
While DRI, an economic intelligence organ under the finance ministry, is exempted from disclosure of information, Goyal cast doubts on DRI`s probe against his company since 1990, while seeking that the information be granted to him for reasons of a pervasive corruption in the conduct of the investigating officers.
Contesting the allegations, the DRI said Goyal, who was at the receiving end of the probe, raised the corruption charges to distract its investigative action.
It also refuted Goyal`s plea that in 1993, an inquiry was also done to look into allegations of irregularities against one of its investigating teams and said such an inquiry showed the allegations as "baseless".
The commission, which found credence in the submissions of the investigative body, said, "when such allegations are made by a party, who is an object of investigation for tax and duty evasion and for other unlawful acts, it becomes tainted by personal motive and loses credibility.