BeyondHeadlines Staff Reporter
New Delhi: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on an official of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for delay in providing information. The CBI failed to disclose why it had not named the Ambani brothers in its chargesheet in the call re-routing case.
Issuing the order, Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi said that the CBI public information officer (PIO) had violated the law by seeking a stay in the courts over a month after the CIC had given its order for disclosure. Gandhi said, “The CBI is not above the law and in the absence fo a stay, should have complied with the order They cannot disobey the order on the basis that a writ petition is proposed to be filed before the appropriate forum.”
Gandhi cited the example of the Delhi Police promulgating Section 144 of the IPC, prohibiting citizens from demonstrating at Jantar Mantar or Ram Lila Ground.
Last year, the agency had filed a chargesheet against five Reliance Industries’ executives in a case related to passing off of international calls as local ones, which caused revenue loss to the government. Gandhi noted that while the CIC had issued an order on May 26, a stay order was obtained on July 13 even though the information should have been made available before June 20.
Delhi resident P C Srivastava had asked the CBI for details related to the call rerouting case, including the timeline of the investigation, why the names of Mukesh andAnil Ambani were not included in the chargesheet and legal opinion on the basis of which the brothers’ names were excluded.
CBI had earlier rejected theRTI application, saying information sought was confidential and disclosure would impede the investigation. The CBI PIO argued before the Commission that,”CBI had decided to prosecute certain directors and the reasons for not prosecuting Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani were on record. However, disclosing such information would provide clues to other persons accused in the case by which they would be able to argue why they should not be charged.”
Gandhi said the PIO had filed to produce any cogent evidence before the Commission on the basis of which she had established that disclosure of information would impede the prosecution of offenders.