RTI on Priyanka Vadra’s Shimla land deal wrongly rejected, disclose details within 10 days: HP Information Commission
For delaying the information, the bench also issued notice to the ADM and the Shimla DC asking that why penalty should not be imposed on them for fooling a citizen seeking information regarding a matter of public interest.
SHIMLA- On Monday, Priyanka Vadra, daughter of Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi and wife of Robert Vadra, received a blow from the Himachal Pradesh State Information Commission. Priyanka had made a plea to HP state government not to disclose her property details to anyone.
While hearing an appeal made by RTI activist Devashis Bhattacharya, the bench, comprising of Chief Information Commissioner Bhim Sen and Information Commissioner KD Batish, ordered the Public Information Officer to release the information within 10 days.
Devashis Bhatacharya had filed an RTI seeking details of land deals made by Prinyanka Vadra near Shimla in Himachal Pradesh. He was denied information calling it violation of SPG security provided to Priyanka. He was told that disclosure of information poses threat to Priyanka’s life.
The activist had moved to the commission against the violation of RTI guidelines and misuse of political influence to cover the case. The bench found that there is no rule under which such information can be withheld for security reasons. The bench sited that the information was wrongly withheld by ADM and DC Shimla.
All politicians declare details of their property during elections. Hence, the information should be given to the RTI activist. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is daughter of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and sister of vice-president Rahul Gandhi. She did not contest in any election, other than canvassing for mother and brother,
observed the SIC bench.
Bhattacharya finally managed to get justice. Ridiculing the misuse of district administration to favor Congress Chief’s daughter, Bhattacharya said:
I have not asked for any personal or private information relating to Priyanka Gandhi. I asked for the Govt. file notings of the approval of the Govt. That cannot be denied.”
He further laughed on reason given by the DC for not disclosing the information. He said
It is laughable to know that the disclosure of the file notings pertaining to the Shimla Land Deal of Priyanka Gandhi will put her life in danger. Entire world knows the location of the said property. Hundreds of workers are working on the site. Architects are having the maps of the house under construction. Then what kind of danger the poor file notings are going to create for her?
For delaying the information, the bench also issued notice to the ADM and the himla DC asking that why penalty should not be imposed on them for fooling a citizen seeking information regarding a matter of public interest.
The date for next hearing was fixed on July 23.
Priyanka Vadra had bought 4.25 Bighas of land in Himachal between 2007 and 2013 in relaxation of section 118 of Tenancy and Land Reforms Act. The construction work of a house is in progress near Chharabra.
The RTI activist had asked how Priyanka was allowed to buy land in Himachal when section 118 of Tenancy and Land Reforms Act bars any non-agriculturist from purchasing land without the consent of the government.
Worst part of the entire episode is that Priyanka Gandhi wanted to take disadvantage of being an SPG protectee to scuttle the disclosure of the file notings of her Shimla land deal. Her SPG protection should be withdrawn and Z+ be allowed,
Priyanka’s lawyer hasn’t made it clear weather she will make further appeal in court against this judgment of the Commission.
Source: DNA India