Governor K Sankaranarayanan, on Thursday, suspended state information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari with immediate effect 'to protect the sanctity of the office of information commissioner and to protect public trust in the institution'.
Tiwari, a former Indian Administration Services officer, was accused of playing a role in the Adarsh scam during his tenure as urban development secretary. The urban development department had reduced an adjoining road and changed the reservation for the road as well as a BEST bus depot to make more area available for Adarsh to build on.
On January 11, the state cabinet requested the governor to take action against Tiwari who had refused to resign as state information commissioner despite a request by the government. Following this, the governor had, on January 16, made a reference to the Supreme Court for inquiry as to whether Tiwari be removed from office.
On Thursday, the governor invoked the power conferred upon him under Section 17 (2) of the Right to Information Act 2005, to suspend Tiwari with immediate effect. The suspension will remain till the conclusion of the inquiry or until further orders, said a communiqué by the Raj Bhavan. The governor has also prohibited Tiwari from attending office.
In a four-page signed order, the governor noted that he was satisfied that there were serious charges/allegations made out against him in the reference to the Supreme Court made under Section 17(1) of the RTI Act, particularly with regard to his alleged role in the Adarsh housing society scam.
The order says, the governor "after considering the seriousness and gravity of charges against Tiwari, is of the view that to protect the sanctity of the high office of information commissioner as well as to protect public trust in the institution, it is desirable that Shri Tiwari not be allowed to function as state information commissioner while the inquiry is pending."
The governor having carefully examined the material before him is satisfied that there is a "prima facie case" of misbehaviour and misconduct made out against Tiwari, and accordingly made a reference to the Supreme Court for inquiry as to whether Tiwari be removed from the office of state information commissioner.
The governor passed the order after ensuring that the reference made by him to the Supreme Court was received in the court on January 19.