The Prime Minister’s office (PMO) has said prima facie the high-level Shunglu Committee appointed to look into issues related to the Commonwealth Games is toothless. The revelation comes as part of documents received by activist Subhash Agrawal in reply to his query under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The PMO appointed the committee, headed by VK Shunglu, on October 25 to examine both international and national advisers, consultants and officials of the Games Organising Committee. A letter by members of the civil society, including RTI activist Arvind Kejariwal, asking about the panel’s status prompted Agrawal to write to the PMO, asking about the action taken on the letter.
“Prima facie it appears that its (committee’s) powers and jurisdiction do not derive from statute as is the case with the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC), the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate (ED),” said Rajeev Topno, director in the PMO. The CVC, the CAG, the CBI and the ED, Topno added, “derive powers from Comptroller and Auditor General Act 1971, the Central Vigilance Commissioner Act 2003, the Delhi Police Establishment Act 1946, the Income Tax Act 1961, the Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999 and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002.”
The letter by Kejriwal and others has been transferred to the Union cabinet secretariat and the department of personnel and training (DoPT). Agrawal has now requested the PMO to transfer his application to the Union cabinet secretariat and the DoPT for further revealing information on the action taken on the contents of the letter by Kejriwal and others. Incidentally, the Shunglu committee is expected to maintain better coordination among various agencies like the CVC and the CAG that are independently investigating cases related to the Games.