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Sales tax dept flouts confidentiality norm of RTI

In violation of the confidentiality norm, the sales tax department disclosed the name of a right to information (RTI) activist to the company about which he had sought details.

mumbai Updated: Nov 22, 2011 01:47 IST
Manish Pachouly
Manish Pachouly
Hindustan Times

In violation of the confidentiality norm, the sales tax department disclosed the name of a right to information (RTI) activist to the company about which he had sought details.

In an application filed with the public information officer (PIO) of sales tax, Manoranjan Roy had sought details of the sales tax assessment and refunds of a Pune-based company - which provides engineering solutions - from 1990 and contact details of the managing director and other directors of the company.

The PIO, in turn, wrote to the concerned company asking if the information could be provided to Roy. The company's reply had "application made by Manoranjan Roy" as its subject and stated that tax-related confidential information need not be disclosed. The PIO informed Roy that the information couldn't be provided.

Roy then wrote to Chitra Kulkarni, appellate authority of sales tax, Pune, complaining that disclosure of his name and details could lead to loss of life and property. "If anything happens, who will be responsible?" he asked in the letter. He said if the information is not available with one unit of the department, the application could be transferred to another unit, but cannot be sent to the concerned company.

Speaking to HT, Roy said: "Sales tax is public fund and not confidential information. Sales tax authority should not have asked the company if the information could be provided. Even if writing to them was necessary, my name should not have been disclosed,"

Despite repeated attempts, Kulkarni was unavailable for comment.

First Published: Nov 22, 2011 01:46 IST