RTI Activist and Guinness World Record holder Subhash Chandra Agrawal has alleged that, “There are reports that even in present Narendra Modi regime, some of Union ministers have misused their position by getting their official residences and office-complexes renovated and refurnished at expense of public-sector undertakings under their ministry because of expense-limit by Central Public Works Department (CPWD) for the purpose having been exhausted. This is otherwise also a quite common tendency in case of various Commissions, Tribunals and other such bodies set up by Union and state governments where heads and members of such bodies misuse resources of the concerned public-authority for renovating/refurnishing their official residences and office-complexes.”
He also said, “Public-authorities avoid responding to petitions filed under Right-To-Information (RTI) Act to reveal the true picture of such happenings. Only recently Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) was directed by Central Information Commission (CIC) to reveal all such details regarding its existing and former Chairpersons (CIC-verdict and other documents are attached herewith). But there are organisations like Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) where such details could not be confirmed because of CBI (being)made wrongly out of purview of RTI Act.”
Mr Aggarwal had used the RTI Act to obtain information from the TDSAT, his application had many questions, including “Is it true that some expenses on furnishing /furniture/air-conditioners/computers/electric & electronic gadgets and other fixtures etc on such government-provided residential accommodations to TDSAT Chairperson Mr. Justice Aftab Alam and/or the other TDSAT member/s is done by TDSAT mentioning also if it is permissible to transfer some such furniture/air-conditioners/computers/electric & electronic gadgets and other fixtures etc from TDSAT office to such government-provided residential-accommodations of the Chair person and/or the other member/s of TDSAT?” He had also sought complete information regarding the rules governing and expenses regarding the government-provided residential-accommodation given to TDSAT Chairperson.
However, Mr. Aggarwal had to approach CIC, in the second appeal, wherein the Respondent, i.e. TDSAT also agreed that the information should be given to Mr. Aggarwal, free of cost. Accordingly, the samewas ordered by the CIC with 30 days being given to make the information available to Mr. Agrawal.
Mr. Aggarwal also said, “Prime Minister should direct Union Cabinet Secretariat to seek details of expenses made on government-bungalows and office-complexes by agencies other than CPWD. All expenses made by agencies other than CPWD should be recovered from concerned ones, however, high he/she might have been posted including even Union ministers. Rather all such persons should be sacked from their posts, because such deeds are nothing but a form of dishonesty in a regime committed for honesty in public life.”
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Read the Order here