PMO not sharing graft complaints against Ministers: RTI activist

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has declined to share details of complaints of corruption it received against Union Ministers in the first Narendra Modi government, a Right To Information activist said here on Thursday.

City-based activist Anil Galgali said that the PMO has denied his request, invoking the RTI Act’s Section 7(9) on grounds that it “would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority as it may be a subjective as well as cumbersome exercise”.

“Section 7(9) of the Act specifies that the information shall ordinarily be provided in the form in which it is sought unless it would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority or would be detrimental to the safety or preservation of the record in question,” he said.

In his reply, Under Secretary in the PMO and CPIO Praveen stated that the PMO keeps receiving complaints against various Union Ministers as well as high-level functionaries in both corruption-related and non-corruption related matters, but does not keep records of these complaints in any single master file.

The RTI reply added that the complaints are pseudonymous and anonymous in nature and they are duly examined, keeping in the view of the veracity of the allegations or accusations and supporting documents in relation to these accusations.

“After taking the needful action, the records are not kept in any single master file or collated and kept in one place. These are scattered across different sectors and units of this office and in view of the above, the collation of information sought will require the undertaking of thorough search of numerous files,” the PMO said.

Galgali, however, termed the PMO’s response as “unprincipled and immature” and alleged that the RTI reply itself points to something “very much fishy”, as complaints filed against the Union Ministers may be plenty.

“When the government has given marching orders of compulsory retirement to several top level bureaucrats, then why it cannot act against the others, including Ministers or Ministers of State,” he asked.


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