Varanasi Commissioner, principal secy summoned
THE CHIEF Information Commissioner Justice MA Khan has again summoned Varanasi Commissioner CN Dubey and principal secretary (Religious Endowment) on August 2 in connection with the alleged misappropriation of funds of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust (KVTT).india Updated: Jul 19, 2006 01:22 IST
THE CHIEF Information Commissioner Justice MA Khan has again summoned Varanasi Commissioner CN Dubey and principal secretary (Religious Endowment) on August 2 in connection with the alleged misappropriation of funds of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust (KVTT).
The CIC issued the order on a fresh application moved by Samajwadi Party leader Shatrudh Prakash alleging that the KVTT paid an advance of Rs 50 lakh to Jaunpur division of the Rajkiye Nirman Nigam towards civil work without inviting tenders. Prakash said that the money from the temple trust was paid to the RNN project manager of Jaunpur on May 9. On whose orders and for what purpose the advance payment was made? Were tenders invited, if not, then on what basis an agreement was entered into with the Jaunpur division when RNN already has a branch in Varanasi?, the SP leader has asked.
“As per my information, the present Varanasi Commissioner had cleared the payment of Rs 50 lakh and signed the file related to the work on May 9 and the same day the money was withdrawn from the trust,” said Prakash. It is not clear in what capacity the Varanasi Commissioner okayed the payment as till then the State Government had not appointed any CEO for the Temple Trust.
Moreover, who withdrew the money, he asked? Since devotees give money to the trust, it is in public interest that this information be made public, he said.
Acting on the application, the CIC directed that Varanasi Commissioner CN Dubey and principal secretary (Religious Endowment) PL Loi shall appear in person before the commission on August 2 and furnish the desired information.
CIC order kicks up row
Chief Information Commissioner Justice MA Khan’s order directing the Government to appoint a non-governmental Hindu scholar as chairman of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust within a week has kicked up a controversy.
Even as officials here questioned the CIC’s power to pass such an order under the Right To Information (RTI), Justice Khan told the Hindustan Times that he had acted well within his domain on the issue. “Unlike the Lok Ayukt, who has merely recommendatory powers, the order passed by the CIC is binding and no appeal can lie against it,” said Justice Khan.
On the other hand, Chief Secretary NC Bajpai was evasive on the issue when asked whether the State Government would comply with the Commission’s order.
Bajpai said that any decision would be taken only after obtaining legal opinion on the issue.
Former IPS officer and an RTI activist, SR Darapuri, was however, more candid in his opinion on the issue.
“The CIC has no business passing such an order,” he said.