New Delhi: The PMO has refused to make public the details of the meetings Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had with Shashi Tharoor just before his resignation as Minister of State for External Affairs at the height of IPL controversy in April, citing exemption in matters of national security and "confidential" third party information.
The Prime Minister`s Office, after taking the views of External Affairs Ministry, said details of meetings where matters relating to country`s sovereignty and integrity, its
security, strategic, scientific, or economic interests and relations with foreign States are discussed cannot be given under the Right to Information Act.
It also said that details of meetings where "confidential third party information" is discussed cannot be given under the transparency law.
54-year-old Tharoor resigned on April 18 after IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi revealed that the Thiruvananthapuram MP`s friend Sunanda Pushkar had equity stake in Rendezvous Sports World (RSW), heading the consortium that owns the Kochi
The issue erupted as a major controversy after opposition parties made a strong demand for his removal on the ground that he misused office for pecuniary gain.
The Prime Minister called the diplomat-turned-minister on more than a couple of occasions before he tendered his resignation on the night of April 18.
RTI applicant Abhishek Shukla had sought the minutes of meetings between the two leaders between April 17-19 from the Prime Minister`s Office. The application was transferred to the External Affairs Ministry by the PMO.
"The office (MEA) has invoked exemption from disclosure of details of PM`s appointments under Section 8 of the Act as this includes all such meetings where issues discussed may, inter alia, include matters relating to sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific, or economic interests of the State and relations with foreign States as well as confidential third party information," Central Public Information Officer of the PMO said.
CPIO Sanjukta Ray wrote, "After due consideration, I am satisfied with the view taken by the office that the information sought is exempted from disclosure in terms of the
provisions of section 8(1) of the Right to Information Act, 2005."