UPA withheld AgustaWestland info under RTI

Clauses relating to national security cited even after deal was cancelled, says activist

GN Bureau | April 28, 2016


#Subhash Chandra Agrawal   #RTI   #defence   #corruption   #Congress   #UPA   #AgustaWestland   #Subramanian Swamy   #Sonia Gandhi  


Amidst uproar in parliament over corruption in the AgustaWestland chopper deal and BJP MP Subramanian Swamy’s attack on Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, another twist in the tale has emerged. In 2014 when prominent RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal filed a query seeking information on the controversial deal, his plea was rejected citing national security.

Agrawal had filed the RTI petition on March 21, 2014 (when UPA was still in power) to the defence ministry seeking details of the sudden termination of the deal with the Italian firm AgustaWestland for supply of 12 helicopters to India. Irregularities came to light in February 2013 when the firm’s CEO Guiseppe Orsi was arrested on corruption charges in Italy. The then defence minister AK Antony ordered a probe the next day, and the deal was cancelled in January 2014.

The defence ministry and the Indian air force (IAF) provided some information to the RTI filed by Agrawal but withheld critical information citing several exemption clauses of the Act, including 8(1)(h), 8(1)(a) and 8(1)(d), relating to impeding process of investigation, security and strategic aspects, and commercial aspects.

Agrawal says the exemption clauses under various sub-sections of section 8(1) are not meant to provide “a hiding cover for scams, scandals and corruption”. Moreover, section 8(2) of the Act provides access to information in case public interest overweighs other concerns, which is the case here.

Agrawal had sought (1) complete information together with related file-notings/ documents/ correspondence/ agreement etc on (a) signing of the AgustaWestland deal. But the CPIO at the Air Headquarters vide response Air HQ/234011204/4/57641EIPS dated 14.02.2014 declined information on query (l-a) as exempted under section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act allegedly because of security and strategic interest of the nation.

His query (3) was about the total cost of helicopters and terms of payment, including payment already made with dates of respective payments. The CPIO rejected the plea citing exemption under section 8(1)(d), which relates to commercial aspects.

For the full RTI response see the PDF here.

Comments

 

Other News

“But for Nehru’s non-alignment, India would’ve been where China is today”

Dark Secrets: Politics, Intrigue and Proxy Wars in Kashmir By Iqbal Chand Malhotra Bloomsbury, 277 pages With his latest work, ‘Dark Secrets’, scholar and media personality Iqbal Chand Malhotra continues the investigation he began with

Maharashtra schools to reopen on January 24

Maharashtra has announced the reopening of schools for classes 1-12 from January 24 with Covid protocols. Education minister Varsha Gaikwad said on Thursday that the government will reopen schools for classes 1-12th with Covid protocols from January 24. “We have also decided to open p

No irregularly in appointment of engineer: BMC counters BJP MLA

The BrihanMumbai municipal corporation (BMC) has rejected BJP MLA Ameet Satam’s demand in a letter to BMC commissioner Iqbal Chahal to cancel the appointment of Sunil Rathod, deputy chief engineer, building and proposal department, western suburbs, for getting caught red-handed accepting bribe by ACB

Cast your vote, not vote for caste

Once the schedule for the next assembly elections has been announced, there is a flurry of activity around building caste coalitions. This is more intense in the most populous state,  Uttar Pradesh, which is the most important state in India in any election, in view of its large population estimated a

Maharashtra cities dominate Smart Cities Mission #Streets4People Challenge

In a competition organised by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nagpur and Aurangabad from Maharashtra are among the 11 cities selected for scaling up their pilot projects and creating permanent public infrastructure. #Streets4People Challenge was org

CNC, Admiral R Hari Kumar condoles deaths of three navy personnel

The three Navy personnel who succumbed to injuries caused by an explosion on board Indian Navy`s destroyer ship INS Ranvir have been identified as Krishan Kumar MCPO (master petty chief officer)I, Surinder Kumar MCPO II & AK Singh MCPO II. In a condolence message, Admiral R Hari Kumar s

Visionary Talk: Farmer`s Agitation, Rakesh Tikait with Kailashnath Adhikari


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter