Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Information Panel rejects Jaitley’s plea

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 6, 2006

Information Panel rejects Jaitley’s plea

Legal Correspondent


Rejects request for documents related to Quattrocchi




New Delhi: The Central Information Commission has turned down the demand of the former Law Minister, Arun Jaitley, for a direction to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to make available to him all documents connected with Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, accused in the Bofors payoff case.

In its order, the Commission said: “In the instant case, the information sought is huge and available in a large number of files, housed in two large rooms and kept in several cupboards under the custody of the CBI. Any attempt to compile the voluminous information, so as to comply with the request of the appellant, may disproportionately divert the public resources, which is not permissible.”

On the documents relating to the freezing and de-freezing of Mr. Quattrocchi’s bank accounts by the order of the Queen’s High Court, the Commission said the CBI admitted that the matter was pending for adjudication before the Supreme Court (coming up for hearing on August 21), the Delhi High Court and the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate court, Delhi. Also, the investigation was still in progress, and a red corner notice issued by Interpol and a non-bailable warrant issued by the special judge, Delhi, were still in force.

As the courts were duly seized of the matter, there was every hope and possibility that public interest, in general, and national interest, in particular, would surely be taken care of. The information sought was covered under the exemption category as they were “privileged documents,” the order said, rejecting Mr. Jaitley’s plea.

Further, the Commission said: “The CBI has been investigating the case for nearly 16 years without much success. Though the CBI has claimed exemptions from disclosure of the information on valid grounds, these exemptions would not be available after the expiry of 20 years of such public actions under the provisions of the Act”


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