Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh State Information Commission on Thursday raised more queries regarding the land purchased by Congress president Sonia Gandhi's daughter, Priyanka Vadra.
The Commission sought the reply of Deputy Commissioner, Additional District Magistrate, Shimla, and Tehsildar-cum-PIO and directed them to appear with full records on next hearing on August 20.
A division bench of the Commission comprising Chairman Bhim Sen and Information Commissioner K D Batish had, on June 29 not only directed the PIO-cum-ADM to give the information within ten days but also issued showcause notice to FAA (Deputy Commissioner), PIO-cum-ADM and PIO-cum-Tehsildar as to why penalty should not be imposed on them for withholding information.
The case pertains to an appeal by RTI activist Dev Ashish Bhattacharya seeking information about the land purchased by Priyanka at Chharabra near Shimla.
During hearing, Batish asked why the information regarding the land purchased by Priyanka which was provided to a third party in 2012 was not given this time.
Batish also pointed out that the additional land was purchased by Priyanka through GPA in 2013 and she was supposed to get the land registered within 180 days, but she was given two extensions.
RTI activist Bhattacharya, who was present during the
hearing, questioned the role of the Deputy Commissioner, who has been show cause notice for imposing penalty for withholding information and said that in the present case the Deputy Commissioner who has given the extensions is also the First Appellate Authority (FAA).
"How is it possible that an official who had 'favoured' somebody by giving extensions would be willing to share that information?" Bhattacharya asked.
The Commission which had in its order of June 29 said that "the PIO and the FAA acted in a manner that no notice was served to Priyanka Vadra within five days of receiving of the application and efforts were made to contact her through the SPA (Special Power of Attorney).
Even though the applicant made no reference to any SPA, still notice was issued to Kehar Singh Khachi, who in his letter specially mentioned that he was no longer the Attorney of Priyanka Vadra but still his objections were wrongly entertained.
The second APA, S Radhakrishanan was appointed on October 27, 2014, which implied that there was no SPA between July 2 and October 27, 2014 and RTI Act gives ten days time to the third party for submission and in this case four valuable months were wasted.