Right to Information – Master key to good governance

RTI power: Ex-FCI exec gets files after 20 yrs

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 11, 2006

RTI power: Ex-FCI exec gets files after 20 yrs


NEW DELHI: Twenty years after the CBI chargesheeted him in a corruption case, a 73-year-old former staffer of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has finally succeeded in gaining access to two official reports in the custody of his ex-paymaster which may help him “conclude” the long-pending matter, all due to the Right to Information Act.

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the FCI to allow its former official ML Kohli to inspect two vigilance investigation reports on him in its custody.

“He (Kohli) is seeking inspection of the files which relate to a period 20 years before the date of his application under the Act, FCI cannot deny the information,” Information Commissioner, Padma Balasubramanian, said, in the order passed on the appeal filed on March 23 this year.

Kohli believes that the files recording the probe held against him in 1984 may aid his vindication in the case.

“Twenty years is a long time and I don’t have many years ahead of me. These files may help me satisfy the court that the probe could prove nothing against me. I want this matter to end soon,” Kohli said.

The probe agency had filed the chargesheet against the septuagenarian accusing him of alleged misappropriation in the handling of a cargo transport contract for the FCI while he was a Senior Regional Manager in Patna.

The matter has been pending in a Patna court for the past two decades and Kohli has already attended over 240 hearings held there in this regard.

The FCI had previously turned down Kohli’s request for access to the two files on the ground that his inspection would mar the CBI probe.

The CIC, however, has favoured Kohli’s stand that there would be no harm in going through the two files as the investigation into the case was completed 20 years ago with the filing of the chargesheet in 1986.

The FCI’s denial comes even after the CBI, when the matter was referred to it, said that Kohli could apply for the documents through the court hearing the case.

Further, it had also informed the CIC that the case was still pending in a “CBI Special Court in Patna and was heard from time to time”.

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