New Delhi: The CIC has directed a probe into the exchange of demonetised currency at a post office in Palam here as it emerged from an RTI response that there were prima facie irregularities in the exchange of notes.
The apprehensions of wrongdoing were raised by a resident of the Central Government Employees Residents Welfare Association in old Pinto Park.
He had sought information about currency exchange from two post offices in the locality which was denied to him.
It was on the orders of the CIC that the information was finally provided which allegedly showed that outsiders had exchanged notes during the critical days of demonetisation.
The RTI applicant, Ramswaroop, has now submitted before the CIC that according to the gate entries of visitors, no outsider had entered the colony during those days last year.
He alleged the list of persons who exchanged notes in these two post offices must be a generated list, and the authorities should draw an inference that there could be an exchange of currency notes by manipulation of records.
"Appellant suspects a serious scandal is being hidden," Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu noted.
After the demonetisation in November 2016, several reports poured in revealing frauds, irregularities and wrongful exchange of currency notes, he said.
"Thus, nothing could be ruled out in these circumstances. The Commission finds merit in his apprehension and the representation of Central Government Employees Residents Welfare Association, and recognises the need for a probe by verifying the names of the persons who exchanged old currency notes, with the names of residents and outsiders entered as available at the gate-entry register and resident members of the Association," he said.
He directed the First Appellate Authority of the postal department to submit its report to the Director General of Post Office, marking a copy to the Reserve Bank of India, the Ministry of Finance, and the PMO.
Acharyulu recommended that the DG of Postal Services, office of the Finance Ministry, RBI and the PMO take appropriate action on the findings.
In previous proceedings, he had said all public authorities should reveal information about demonetisation, which had affected every citizen of the country.
"All the public authorities have a moral, constitutional, RTI-based democratic responsibility to explain to each and every citizen who is affected by demonetisation, the information, reasons, impact and remedial measures, if discovered any negative impact," he had said.
He had said each person was affected by the decision and even beggars, rikshaw-pullers, push-cart sellers reeled under this stroke.
"If the suffering was just temporary and there will be windfalls in the future, let that also be told to the people officially by each and every public authority concerned with demonetisation," he had said.