UDF government face another row over RTI

Sunday, Mar 20, 2016,11:53 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Thiruvananthapuram | Faced with yet another controversy ahead of May 16 assembly polls over RTI Act, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today termed as baseless the charge that government had excluded Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau matters related to top functionaries including Chief Minister and Ministers from the ambit of the Act.

Reacting to the demand of opposition parties and KPCC President V MSudheeran for withdrawal of the impunged order in this regard, Chief Minister’s Office said the government’s step was only to avoid harassment and ensure the safety of persons who provide secret information about top brass and propaganda in contrary to this was baseless.

Government decided to exclude ‘T-Branch of Vigilance’ from RTI after seeking the legal advice of Advocate General and experts, a release issued by CMO said. Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) had also repeatedly made such a request since 2009, it was pointed out. Probe by T-branch was mainly connected with matters before a case was registered.

If the identity of the petitioner and information on the petition was leaked, it will adversely affect the complainant and the further probe in the case, the release said. Attacking the government over the issue, CPI-M leader and opposition leader in the Kerala Assembly V S Achuthanandan had accused the Congress-led UDF government of excluding VACB matters related to Chief Minister, former Chief Ministers, cabinet colleagues, former ministers, IAS and IPS officers from the ambit of RTI. He also alleged that it was an attempt to sabotage the RTI act.

In an embarrassment to government, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee along with BJP wanted to withdraw the notification issued in this regard. Sudheeran in a statement asked Chandy to withdraw the notification. Slamming the government, CPI-M politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan said the attempt was to sabotage the RTI due to fear that government’s true face would be exposed.

The notification also made the Chief Minister’s slogan of transparency hollow, Vijayan, former CPI-M state secretary said. Flaying the government, BJP state President Kummanom Rajasekharan said Chandy was trying to impose censorship through back door. Government came out with such a notification because it seems to have jittery over the daily exposes of corruptions, he added. Some of the recent decisions of the government on matters related to land had kicked up row forcing it to have a relook.