The Central Information Commission (CIC) has issued show-cause notices to a former and an incumbent Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Delhi Government's Social Welfare Department observing that one of them appeared to have provided false information and the other had not supplied complete information within the stipulated 30 days to two RTI applicants seeking details on some officials booked in two corruption cases.

The RTI applications were filed by two representatives of NGO Pratidhi in November 2009 and in May this year.

As part of the reply to the first application, the then PIO K. K. Bhalla had informed that departmental inquiry had been initiated against the enquired officials who were arrested by the Anti-Corruption Branch of the Delhi Government on charges of misappropriation of funds meant for children homes and other institutions.

However, in reply to the second application in July this year, incumbent PIO O.P. Bhatti informed that as per the available record with the vigilance branch, no departmental inquiry was being initiated against the accused officials. The PIO further informed that the officials suspended after being booked in corruption cases were later reinstated.

When asked about any policy regarding posting of tainted officials, it was informed that there was no particular criteria.

On the grounds of non-receipt of proper information from the PIO, the second applicant Subhash Baghel then approached the CIC. Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, in his order, directed Mr. Bhatti to provide information about the status of the departmental enquiries before August 30 this month.

Issuing show cause notice to the previous PIO, Mr. Gandhi said: “It appears that K. K. Bhalla has provided false information to the complainant.”

The Information Commissioner also issued show cause notice to Mr. Bhatti observing that he was responsible for not supplying complete information within the stipulated 30 days. Both the officials have been asked to appear before the Commission on October 1.

Keywords: RTI Act

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