Central info body gets new bosses, all ex-govt officers
A career spook, an influential civil servant and the chief of a public sector bank have been appointed to the information watchdog, Central Information Commission, after their retirement.
The government formally announced the appointments of Rajiv Mathur, Vijai Sharma and Basanth Seth after they assumed office as Information Commissioners on Thursday, a post that comes with a salary and allowances received by a Supreme Court judge.
The government selected the three after issuing a public notice inviting applications from people with experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance.
Nearly 215 people had applied but the government decided to settle for the three aspirants from the public sector only. Formerly an RTI activist, Shailesh Gandhi is the only one of the 8 commissioners at CIC who was not a government officer.
Rajiv Mathur: An IPS officer of the 1972 batch and former chief of the Intelligence Bureau, Mathur had spent a significant part of his career in the secretive intelligence business. Incidentally, the Intelligence Bureau is exempted from the RTI Act.
Vijai Sharma: An IAS officer of the 1974 batch, Sharma last served as the environment secretary before retiring in December 2010. in May 2011, he was inducted into the National Green Tribunal under the environment ministry on a five-year-term as an “expert” member. Less than a year later, Sharma quit the environment watchdog to join the information watchdog. Interestingly, the official announcement did not identify him as a retired IAS officer.
Basant Seth: A career banker in the public sector, Seth had last served as chairman of the Karnataka-headquartered Syndicate Bank. He started his career in the banking industry with the Bank of India and served as deputy managing director at Small Industries Development Bank of India before joining Syndicate Bank.