From the desk of CIC - Secrets accounts in Swiss Banks

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Summary:

Second appeal filed by Shri V.R. Chandran in Central Information Commission relates to the RTI-request dated 13-11-2008, wherein he had asked for the following information:

“Whether the Ministry of Finance/GOI is aware of the existence of such secret accounts of Indian citizens in Swiss banks amounting to 1456 billion US dollars.”

CPIO and First appellate authority reply to the request of appellant: “The requisite information/documents cannot be provided by the Directorate of Enforcement, as this Directorate has been exempted under Section 24 read with the Second Schedule of the Right to Information Act, 2005.”

In CIC view, all matters now investigated by the Enforcement Directorate in the matter of stashing away of Indian money in foreign banks, come within the definition of allegations of corruption in Section 24. CIC directed the Enforcement Directorate to provide the information.

Appellants: V.R. Chandran Vs. Respondent: Directorate of Enforcement Appeal No. CIC/At/A/2009/353 Decided On: 28.09.2010

Hon'ble Information Commissioner: Wajahat Habibullah, C.I.C., A.N. Tiwari, M.L. Sharma and Shailesh Gandhi, I.Cs., Central Information Commission

Second appeal filed by Shri V.R. Chandran in Central Information Commission relates to the RTI-request dated 13-11-2008, wherein he had asked for the following information:

(1) Whether the Ministry of Finance/GOI is aware of the existence of such secret accounts of Indian citizens in Swiss banks amounting to 1456 billion US dollars.

(2) If yes, has any action been taken to find the identity of the account holders.

(3) If the list of depositors is available, please provide a copy of the same, with complete information about the depositors.

(4) Are the transactions legitimate?

(5) If the deposits are illegal, what action has been contemplated on them?

(6) Has the GOI/ MOF addressed the Swiss authorities for repatriating the illegal money? If not, Why not?

(7) Are there such accounts in any other countries?

(8) If all or any of the actions mentioned above have not been done, please furnish the reason there for.

(9) If MOF/GOI holds the view that the said media reports are not to be trusted, what action has been taken or proposed to be taken on them for false propaganda?

Decision by CPIO, Ministry of Finance/GOI:

CPIO, vide his letter dated 8-12-2008, had replied as follows: The requisite information/documents cannot be provided by the Directorate of Enforcement, as this Directorate has been exempted under Section 24 read with the Second Schedule of the Right to Information Act, 2005.

Decision by First Appellate Authority, Ministry of Finance/GOI:

The first appeal dated 7-1-2009 was rejected by the Appellate Authority, vide order dated 18-2-2009 indicating inter alia, as under:

I have carefully considered the requests of the Appellant before the PIO and also in his appeal. Though, I agree with the Appellant that exemption in terms of Section24 of the Act was not applicable to the cases of corruption and human rights violations, but the Appellant has failed to bring his request with in this category. I therefore, feel that the PIO had rightly rejected the application dated 13-11-2008. Since the Appellant has not adduced anything new in his appeal, I do not find any merit in his appeal, I, therefore, reject the same.

Decision by Full bench of CIC:

In CIC view, all matters now investigated by the Enforcement Directorate in the matter of stashing away of Indian money in foreign banks, come within the definition of allegations of corruption in Section 24. CIC directed the Enforcement Directorate to provide the information on Point Nos. (1) and (8). Point Nos. (4) and (9) are questions which are in the form of seeking views and opinions and cannot be the subject-matter of RTI-applications.

Kush Kalra

Kush Kalra

krrish.kush@gmail.com
*Kush is a practicing lawyer at Delhi High Court. He graduated from Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab, India in 2012 and has authored a total of 10 books on Law within a year - a National Record! https://www.miraclesworldrecords.com/Gallery/Details/170

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