Himachal: Priyanka land brouhaha refuses to go away

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Shimla
  • Updated: Jul 30, 2015 21:31 IST

The row over information about Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's land transactions refuses to die down.

On Thursday, an RTI activist, Dev Ashish Bhattacharya, alleged another RTI applicant was provided details on the matter by the Shimla administration, police and the central government but he was denied similar information on the grounds that it could pose a threat to Priyanka.

"In his November 28, 2014, order the Shimla additional district magistrate stated the information of a similar nature had already been provided to another applicant in 2012," he said.

Bhattacharya said he filed four different applications, asking the district administration, the state director general of police and the central public information officer in New Delhi to provide details under the Right to Information (RTI) Act regarding the 'action taken report' by the officer concerned to recall the information already given by the Shimla administration.

"In a letter I wrote to the secretary (security) at the cabinet secretariat in New Delhi I explained even the high court had commented that the state information commission had misinterpreted the relevant section of the RTI Act and asked the public information officer to provide me details about Priyanka's land transactions. This means the high court prima facie revealed its concern over the perceived threat to Priyanka's life if the information sought was provided," Bhattacharya said.

He said he has asked the Shimla deputy commissioner, the police chief, head of the special protection group and the secretary (security) at the cabinet secretariat in New Delhi to cease the information which is in the custody of the person who had obtained it through an RTI application in 2012. "I've also asked them to seek an explanation from the deputy commissioner who provided the information in question under the RTI Act without seeking the permission of the special protection group and Priyanka in 2012.

Bhattacharya has sought details about the land Priyanka purchased in Chharabra near Shimla to build a cottage. The Shimla deputy commissioner's office denied him the information, saying it could endanger Priyanka's life. On June 29 the state information commission instructed the office to provide him the details, citing section 8(1)g of the RTI Act.

Later on July 7 the Himachal Pradesh High Court stayed the state information commission order after Priyanka filed a petition a day earlier.

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