The Haryana state information commission has reprimanded Hisar superintendent of police (SP) and state information officer for "concealing information" from an RTI activist who had sought video footage of five days of proceedings inside a police station here.
Last month, information commissioner Urvashi Gulati had ruled that prime facie, it appeared a case of concealment of correct information with ulterior motive and directed the SP, BS Balan, to appear before the commission during the next hearing on July 11 and issued a showcause notice why a fine of Rs. 25,000 be not imposed on him for the act.
The case dates back to October 14, 2012, when some of the activists of the India Against Corruption (IAC) had shown black flags during a function here, in which chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Kurukshetra MP Naveen Jindal were present. The black flags were shown in protest against the alleged favours by the state government to Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, in the Guragoan land deal, and Naveen Jindal in the Coalgate scam.
The Right To Information (RTI) activist, Ramesh Verma, and 13 other members of the IAC were booked in the case. "Showing black flags is a bailable offence but, in this case, we were booked under non-bailable sections of the IPC owing to political pressure. Daily-diary reports (DDR) bear testimony to the fact that initially we were booked under bailable sections," Verma told Hindustan Times.
The close-circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed at the police station had recorded who visited the station during the five days in question - October 12 to 16.
The RTI was filed on October 27, 2012, and the SP's office replied on December 3 and January 23. Though Verma was given the DDR of October 14 (the day of the function) but the police refused to give footage, claiming that it did not have the recording of that day (October 14).
At this, Verma had, on December 28, approached the first appellate authority and Hisar range inspector general, which directed the police to supply the footage within 10 days but it did not comply with the order. The aggrieved party later approached the state information commission. During the hearing last month, then DSP (city) Jai Prakash on behalf of the Hisar SP submitted that the footage was not available and there was delaysin supplying the record as it had to be got from the custodian and was not available with local police.
The computer operator submitted that normally, footage was kept for one month but recording of that period was not available.