The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has refused to make public the details of the meetings between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had with Shashi Tharoor just before his resignation as MoS for external affairs at the height of IPL controversy in April, citing exemption in matters of national security and “confidential” third party information.
The PMO, 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 details of meetings where "confidential third party information" is discussed cannot be given under the transparency law.
Tharoor (54) 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), consortium that owns the Kochi team.
The Prime Minister called the diplomat-turned-minister on more than a couple of occasions before he quit.
RTI applicant Abhishek Shukla had sought the minutes of meetings between the two leaders between April 17-19 from the PMO. The application was sent to the 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, security, strategic, scientific, or economic interests of the State..." Central Public Information Officer of 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."