The Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked the External Affairs ministry to reveal the identity of the alleged mole of US spy agency CIA in former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s cabinet during the 1971 war with Pakistan.
The CIC ruling came in response to an application filed under the Right to Information Act by Anuj Dhar, author of CIA’s Eye in South Asia. Dhar sought details of the alleged moles in the cabinet.
The spy case created a furor in 1983, when Semour Hersh, a US journalist, revealed in a book that a senior minister allegedly leaked out crucial information on the discussions at cabinet meetings to the CIA.
The ministry earlier rejected Dhar’s RTI application, arguing that the government was not obliged to provide information older than 20 years.
But Information Commissioner Annapurna Dixit countered the ministry’s logic and directed the Principal Information Officer to answer every question asked by Dhar.
Dhar sought photocopies of records relating to Hersh’s revelations in The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House. He also wanted some documents related to former Prime Minister Morarji Desai.
Arguing before the commission that the information was of great historical importance, Dhar claimed there was public interest involved in the disclosure, as it would help clear the air over the allegation.
Dixit also said in the order that the chief public information officer of the External Affairs Ministry would have to procure and provide information that are available with other ministries.