The Right to Information Act may help to unveil the mystery behind the Central Vigilance Commission proposing and the CBI disposing in the Rs1,300-crore HUDCO scam.
The Central Information Commission this week directed the CBI to provide the inquiry report on closing investigation in four cases where the CVC found "adequate evidence of paying bribes" to mobilise funds from Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) in 2006.
The CBI had closed the case saying there was not enough evidence to proceed with the probe. This had resulted in the housing and urban development ministry submitting a closure report in Supreme Court in 2007. The corporation had invested Rs950 crore in West Bengal Infrastructure Development Finance, Rs200 crore in Himachal Pradesh
Infrastructure Development Board and Rs150 crore in Vidharbha Irrigation Development Corporation. There were allegations that money was paid to get these funds from HUDCO.
“It appears that CVC found clear evidence showing bribes were taken. However, the CBI and the (Housing and Urban Development) ministry have come to the conclusion there is no wrong doing. If corruption is to be curtailed.... citizens need to get information of this nature," Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi said.
The CBI's information officer Pradeep Kumar had refused to provide information to RTI applicant AN Gupta on the ground that the probe report was confidential. The investigations were closed in 2007 and the SC was informed about it.
Gandhi said the information officer had wrongly applied the exemption clauses and said "mere fears without any justification" could not be grounds for denying the citizen's fundamental right. The commission also said the Kumar had failed to justify the reasons for denying information as stipulated under the RTI Act.
HUDCO had sanctioned R14,500 crore as loans to different infrastructure corporations during the NDA regime.
Three part-time HUDCO directors had allegedly sanctioned loans amounting to Rs5,300 crore to corporate houses in a day in the absence of a single permanent director
CVC found that bribe was paid get the loans sanctioned
The CBI was asked to investigate which did not find adequate evidence to proceed against the accused.