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Thread: RTI & the truth about Netaji's fate

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    RTI & the truth about Netaji's fate


    Hi

    I'd like to draw attention of all to an effort to access information pertaining to Subhas Chandra Bose'a fate. My friends have been trying to access information available with the PMO, MHA, MEA and even R&AW.

    The results as of now are not good. In almost all the cases we have have got negative responses. It is strange that on one hand Govt says Netaji died in an air crash in 1945, and on the other they are not sitting on dozens of files.

    As a result, we have reported the matter to the CIC, which has already started hearing on our case with the MHA and classified records on Bose.

    The latest communication that we have had from the Govt is from the R&AW. We have reason to believe that they have given us wrong information.

    Please visit http://www.missionnetaji.org/page/rti_home.html for details and reflect.

    Regards

    Anuj Dhar

    www.missionnetaji.org



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    please read My friends and I have been trying trying to access information available with the PMO, MHA, MEA and even R&AW.

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    Hello Anuj,
    Do update us on the hearing at CIC!

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    Hi, the following are the details about last hearing. The next hearing on this case will take place in March. Regards.

    On 12.12.2006, the Central Information Commission (CIC) held another hearing on Mission Netaji's complaint against the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) over the documents relied upon by Khosla Commission and Shah Nawaz Committee.

    The hearing was marked by castigating remarks of Information Commissioner AN Tiwari, who chided the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), MHA, and an Under Secretary from the same Ministry, for not coming up with pertinent responses.

    For the background, after Home Minister Shivraj Patil announced in Parliament that the inquires conducted by (Congress MP) Shah Nawaz Khan and (Indira Gandhi's biographer) GD Khosla were more credible than that of Justice MK Mukherjee, a former Supreme Court judge, Mission Netaji's Sayantan Dasgupta filed a petition seeking copies of all documents exhibited by Shah Nawaz and Khosla panels. Our case has been that these inquiries were patently fraud, and they made selective use of the evidence to arrive at the conclusion to suit the Government's view that Netaji had died in Taipei.

    After the Ministry of Home Affairs refused point-blank to give the records, Mission Netaji lodged a complaint with the CIC. In the first hearing before the CIC in October last year, the Ministry officials said they were not even aware of the exhibits as unlike the Mukherjee Commission report the earlier reports had not appended any list of exhibits, which was suspicious. Information Commissioner AN Tiwari then directed Mission Netaji to revise its original application to demand specific documents.

    In compliance, Mission Netaji filed a revised petition, enclosing a classified list of 202 documents used as exhibits by the Khosla Commission in the argument session. The same list can be seen here.

    The CIC forwarded the revised request to the MHA and sought their reply, which they came up on 12.12.2006. In fact, they had no reply. Rather than giving information they sought to inquire from Mission Netaji the source of the classified list. Taking exception to this, the Information Commissioner sought to know the Ministry's response to the 202 documents.

    Admitting that there was a list of 202 exhibits, the Ministry officials remarked that bulk of them were untraceable in the Ministry. Mission Netaji's retort was that the Ministry was deliberately trying hide those documents which were likely to show that the previous panels hoodwinked the people of India.

    Touching upon the lager issue, the Information Commissioner expressed surprise that the Government of India was keeping documents on the death of an illustrious son of India secret. "Records on someone's death should not be kept classified for decades." The Commissioner opined that such an air of secrecy was simply abetting the controversy. He advised that time had come for the Government to make a clean breast of the matter, and if possible, publish a white paper. "Why don't you release all the files to National Archives and let researchers draw conclusions?" he asked.

    Rounding up the hearing, the Commissioner instructed the officials to "sensitise the Home Secretary about the matter" and make serious attempts to locate papers as sought by Mission Netaji. The Commissioner wanted the officials to revert in three months time with a detailed response with regard to the list, showing the availability and non-availability/destruction/disappearance status of each and every document.

    The Commissioner warned that the failure to come up with cogent answers in next hearing could result in a strong order which the Government may not like.


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    I did not understand one point: Have you asked for information from MHA and RAW and that RAW refused information?

    What if the MHA transferred the document to RAW, than you won't get any information, isn't that?

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    Atleast the CIC can call for the information and see that if that can be supplied to you. I think Kushal had once told that, it is under the power of CIC to inspect any classified document and decide whether the information can be divulged!

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    Trueblue

    I did not understand one point: Have you asked for information from MHA and RAW and that RAW refused information?

    We put separate queries to PMO, MHA, MEA, Cabinet Secretariat and R&AW (through PMO). I wrote to PMO and asked them if they and R&AW were holding classified papers on Bose and provide me a list thereof. PMO forwarded the query to R&AW and for their part, they refused the information.

    What if the MHA transferred the document to RAW, than you won't get any information, isn't that?


    Obviously. If a record has been sent to any intelligence agency, it will never be made public.

    Madhumita


    Atleast the CIC can call for the information and see that if that can be supplied to you. I think Kushal had once told that, it is under the power of CIC to inspect any classified document and decide whether the information can be divulged!

    Right. That's what they have told the MHA in the specific case. But MHA will never produce all the records.


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    Please sample this:

    Mission Netaji (eventually) asked Mr Rinzing Wangdi, Secretary (ER) and Apellate Authority, Ministry of External Affairs for the following:

    (a) Unambiguous information whether the issue of Netaji's fate or his alleged stay in the USSR was ever taken up by the MEA with the Soviets/Russians at a higher (say ministerial) level or; whether some enquiries into such a matter of national importance were made through mere note verbales; and

    (b) Certified copies of the complete correspondence in toto, covering what was asked, replies from the USSR/Russian Federation and MEA's reaction on record thereof.


    The answer:

    (a) The Information sought does not constitute an "information" as defined in the RTI Act, 2005 as it seeks anecdotal reply; and

    (b) The requisite copies of correspondence cannot be disclosed as it involves relations with foreign state and is exempt as per the provisions of clause 8(1)(a)(i).

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