Two key economic regulators of the country -- finance ministry and Reserve Bank of India -- do not have any information about the the consumption of unaccounted gold in the country.
The RBI and the finance ministry have given a sworn affidavit before the Central Information Commission that they do not have any information about the illegal gold sale in the country.
The affidavits were issued on the direction by the Information Commissioner Deepak Sandhu who asked them to file a sworn affidavit that they do not have any information about the consumption of unaccounted gold in the country.
The direction of the transparency panel comes on an RTI application by activist S C Agrawal who sought to know sale and consumption of unaccounted gold in the country and related issues.
The application filed before the Department of Revenue was transferred to a number of authorities within the finance ministry with each of them claiming that they do not have any information on the issue.
No reply was furnished to the applicant.
When the matter came before the CIC, Information Commissioner Deepak Sandhu directed the finance ministry, nodal ministry in such affairs, to file a sworn affidavit that no information was held by it.
"Commission holds the view that it is the ministry of finance which would be the nodal ministry in respect of the subject matter of the RTI application and that the information sought would be held by the ministry of finance, its departments and entities.
"Therefore, the ministry of finance, through its secretary is directed to submit affidavit signed by an officer not lower in rank of deputy secretary to give affidavit to the Commission that information (complete or partial) as sought ( in the)... RTI application is not held by the ministry or any of its entities," Sandhu directed.
She had also directed the Reserve Bank of India to file a similar affidavit to the Commission within two weeks of the receipt of the order.
After the directions, Niharika Barik Singh, Director, Department of Revenue in finance ministry and Ashok Joshi, General Manager RBI submitted these sworn affidavits saying no such information is held by them.
Singh in her affidavit said Central Board of Direct Taxes and Department of Economic Affairs have said they do not have information and Enforcement Directorate being an exempted organisation has not provided any details.
"On the basis of information received from concerned department/entities in the Ministry of Finance, it is hereby stated that information sought... is not held by the ministry of finance, Government of India," she said.