RTI query leads to Balco report ‘leak’
A Union government body is in the dock for allegedly conducting improper tests in the Balco chimney collapse case, in which 40 people died, and providing the report to a citizen under the Right To Information Act before it was submitted in a court hearing the case.delhi Updated: Apr 13, 2010 23:47 IST
A Union government body is in the dock for allegedly conducting improper tests in the Balco chimney collapse case, in which 40 people died, and providing the report to a citizen under the Right To Information Act before it was submitted in a court hearing the case.
Chhattisgarh police have arrested three top officials of the Faridabad-based National Council for Cement and Building Material on the charge of destroying evidence and hampering the process of natural justice.
“…Facts and evidences show they (NCCBM officials) were fully aware and confident that it is a false report, and on the basis of which the accused (Balco officials) can save their skin,” said Korba district SP Rattan Lal Dangi in a reply to the Central Information Commission.
The commission has issued a notice to Dangi after the council’s director-general M. Vasudeva alleged that three scientists had been arrested for providing the test report to a citizen in January under the RTI Act and supposedly helping Balco.
The council later withdrew its allegation, but the police took objection, saying it was the “moral responsibility” of the council to inform the person seeking the information to collect it from the police. “Not doing so brings the organisation under doubt,” Dangi said.
An apparent reason for Dangi’s claim was Balco’s advocate telling a court in February that the tests were not done according to Bureau of Indian Standard specifications and, therefore, they could not be treated as credible evidence. This was before the police could present the report to the court.
IIT Roorkee had examined the test report for Balco, whose findings were corroborated for the police by the National Institute of Technology, Raipur.
Dangi said no one except the investigating officer and the court were allowed to inspect any document related to an ongoing probe.
The police have charged three scientists for causing disappearance of evidence and giving false information. Dangi said the arrests would “defy the habit of giving recommendations not based on tests reports and creating hindrance in impartial justice”.