The state vigilance bureau (SVB) is accused of concealing the findings of an inquiry into a scam in implementing the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in Ambala district.
In the case registered in February 2011 in Ambala, the role of several senior bureaucrats and state forest department officials was investigated. The bureau, after completing its report, kept it secret. In the past three months, it headquarters has twice turned down the Right to Information (RTI) Act applications (HT has copies) for details on the grounds that the report is pending with the Haryana government for “final consideration”.
“The applicants can have a copy only after the government has taken a final decision,” read the SVB reply to an RTI application on December 24. In the November 14 reply to Panipat RTI activist PP Kapoor, it had stated that the investigation was still on. When Kapoor shot another letter to the chief secretary with newspaper clippings about the case to know the action taken on the report, the query was reverted to the bureau and it changed its reply.
“On December 24, the SVB contradicted its earlier reply and said the information about the Ambala inquiry was with the state government and could not be shared under Section 8 (1) (h) (exemption from the disclosure of information so as not to impede the process of investigation) of the RTI Act,” said the applicant.
Contesting bureau’s claim, Kapoor said the section mentioned applied only where the inquiry was underway or the matter was in court, while in this case, the bureau had submitted its report for approval. He now has filed a complaint through the new redress system of chief minister’s window and demanded action on the bureau report.
“While the previous Congress regime dumped the report, even the new Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) government has not touched it. The role of the SVB, an anti-corruption body, is far more disturbing, as it is involved allegedly in concealing the findings. I had only asked for the details of its inquiry,” Kapoor told HT here on Wednesday.
The applicant claimed to have information that after eight months of investigation, the bureau had given its report to the-then chief secretary on November 16, 2012. “The bureau had indicted two bureaucrats, one of whom is a deputy commissioner. It also recommended action against several forest department officials, only to put it on the back burner under pressure from few leaders in the Congress government,” said Kapoor, demanding action against the bureau officials and threatening to move the lokayukta.