Punjab’s home affairs and justice department and its police wing have not denied under the Right to Information (RTI) Act the existence of what former DGP (prisons) Shashi Kant claims is his old dossier incriminating politicians and police in drug trade.
The Punjab and Haryana high court has the dossier on its radar. Within and outside the high court, Kant, has said that as director general of police (prisons) and before that as additional DGP (intelligence), he submitted to the state government a list of leaders and police officers involved in drug smuggling, and chief minister Parkash Singh Badal knows about it.
The state government has dismissed Kant’s contention as “false”. Before the high court also, its stand has been that no such report exists. However, after Hisar’s Dr Sandeep Kumar Gupta began an RTI investigation in May 2013 to unravel its existence or otherwise, the home and police departments, which are under the direct political command of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, have taken a position contrary to the views of political masters and law officers.
“Information (Kant’s dossier) required by you (applicant Dr Gupta) in your application cannot be provided to you as the intelligence wing is exempted from the provisions of the RTI Act-2005 under Section 24 (1),” is what the additional DGP (intelligence) stated in a signed letter on June 27, 2013, to the applicant. The applicant had sought this information from the home affairs and justice department originally but the home department of Sukhbir had transferred the RTI application to the intelligence wing.
Info With DGP
The case now is before chief information commissioner (CIC) RI Singh, who took up the matter on January 22 and adjourned it to March 4 after a brief order. In his order, the CIC stated: “The representative of the public information officer/principal secretary, department of home affairs and justice, pleads that the information in any case is held by the director general of police, Punjab and ADGP, Punjab (intelligence wing), Chandigarh; and that they have transferred the request for information to the PIO/DGP, Punjab, Chandigarh.”
The order states that the appellant, Dr Gupta, had in May 2013 addressed an application to the home department for names of 10 prominent politicians and social personalities mentioned reportedly in Kant’s report about drug smuggling. “Initially, the request for information was denied on the ground that it pertains to the intelligence wing, which has been exempted under Section 24 of the RTI Act,” the CIC’s order states.
The appellant has taken the plea that the information he seeks pertains to smuggling, a corrupt practice. Under Section 24, information relating to corruption is not exempted, even though the intelligence wing is.