Priyanka Gandhi to move court against info panel order on her land in HP

  • Gaurav Bisht, Hindustan Times, Shimla
  • Updated: Jul 04, 2015 00:05 IST

Congress president Sonia Gandhi's daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is likely to move court against the Himachal Pradesh State Information Commission order asking the government to provide information about her land in Chharabra, 14 kilometres from Shimla.

A full bench of the commission on June 29 directed the Shimla deputy commissioner (DC) to release the information relating to the land deal of Priyanka in Shimla within 10 days. The commission also issued notice of penalty for causing delay and fixed July 23 as the next date of hearing.

"We will approach the court against the information commission order," said Priyanka's counsel Gautam Sood.

Meanwhile, right to information (RTI) activist Debashish Bhattacharya has filed a caveat in the Himachal high court anticipating that the government could challenge information commission's order. Bhattacharya also questioned Shimla DC Dinesh Malhotra over denial of information to him. "I spoke to the DC on July 1 and asked him if the information was ready. The DC, however, said that Priyanka had filed an application in his office stating that she intended to move the high court and therefore the information should not be released," said Bhattacharya.

The RTI activist claimed that he was yet to receive any information from the DC office. He said the Shimla (rural) tehsildar had prepared a 30-page report in August 30, 2014, and he was charged Rs 528, but the file was sent back to the additional district magistrate, law and order, Shimla.

"Why is the DC not providing the information of Priyanka's land? Does he have orders from a statutory body? Is he not duty bound to obey the orders of the information commission? Or is he obliging someone by exhausting the period of 10 days granted by the information panel so the information gets blocked?" questioned Bhattacharya.

"The DC should follow the gazette notification dated August 6, 2014, of the ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions though it is a mandate that each member of the Indian administrative service shall maintain political neutrality, accountability and transparency and high ethical standards , integrity and honesty," Bhattacharya said.

The state information commission on June 29 set aside the Shimla DC's orders in which he had declined to provide information about the land owned by Priyanka at Chharabra, where she is constructing a dream cottage.

In the orders, the state information commissioner maintained that even top political figures, including the prime minister and former prime ministers, who have been provided Z-plus security, also provide information about their movable and immovable assets in the election affidavit.

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