Nation Current Affairs 24 Mar 2016 Thiruvananthapuram: ...

Thiruvananthapuram: VACB director expresses concern over RTI row

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | ARJUN RAGHUNATH
Published Mar 24, 2016, 7:28 am IST
Updated Mar 24, 2016, 7:28 am IST
The VACB also sent a couple of reminders, the latest being in 2013.
N. Shanker Reddy
 N. Shanker Reddy

Thiruvananthapuram: Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) director N. Shanker Reddy has met Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and home minister Ramesh Chennithala and expressed concern over holding back an office order that created confusion on exempting its top secret section (T-branch) from RTI Act.

The CM assured him to take steps to modify the notification issued by general administration (coordination) department making it explicit.

 

During the Cabinet briefing on Tuesday, the CM had said that the director's January 18 office order defining the functioning of T-branch had created confusion, and the VACB would be directed to cancel it.

However, vigilance sources said a section of top government officials seemed to have misled the CM and home minister to cover up their lapses in issuing the notification.

The CM is also learnt to have clarified in the Wednesday morning meeting with Mr Reddy that the government did not want any restrictions in disclosing information regarding probe against CM or ministers.

VACB sources say the proposal went in 2010 when it was dealing only with confidential verifications and surprise checks. The government then sought to know about other states, which was also provided. The VACB also sent a couple of reminders, the latest being in 2013.

"The VACB was entirely in the dark about the government issuing the notification on January 27. The January 18 office order was aimed only to streamline the functioning of T-branch as there used to be complaints of delay in issuing NOC to senior government officials from VACB as well as reply to queries in Assembly," said an official.

Sources also clarified that all cases of sensitive nature, including those of ministers and senior officials, were being handled by T-branch even before the order.

"The only change brought by that office order was to bring all future cases against ministers and senior officials also under T-branch, irrespective of sensitivity. However, it was not at all a move associated with the RTI notification, but only to streamline VACB's functioning," a senior official in the wing said.

Meanwhile, home department sources said the VACB could have informed the government of the changes being made in T-branch, especially since a recommendation to exempt it from RTI was pending.

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