Patna, Oct. 17: The vigilance department and the State Information Commission have engaged in a tussle over an order issued by the panel asking the department to answer a petitioner on how many corruption cases were filed against its principal secretary Ashok Chauhan.
The vigilance department, instead of responding to the order of the commission, has sent it a memo asking it to withdraw the order, as the information sought by the petition was not available in the records of the department.
I shall not speak on the subject as the matter is pending before the SIC, Chauhan told The Telegraph.
Former MLA and social activist Umadhar Prasad Singh had approached the SIC in August and complained against the vigilance department that it had failed to provide information to his query.
But the department had told the information commission Farzand Ahmad that it was unable to provide information to Singh because it did not have the necessary records. The plea was rejected by the SIC and the department was directed to furnish the information or face action according to provisions of the Right to Information Act.
Ahmad, after hearing both the PIO and the petitioner, said in an October 15 order that the review petition filed by the department chief did not reflect accountability and transparency in the functioning of the department on which people depend to exorcise corruption from the bureaucratic machinery.
In this era of transparency, everyone is looking at the vigilance department with great hope. But the department itself does not know how many (corruption) cases have been filed (against its principal secretary). The information sought by the petitioner is in public interest and not related to any individual, Ahmad said in his order.
In his earlier order, Ahmad has urged the vigilance department principal secretary to form a small team of officials to work on the petition and provide information. But it did not have any effect.
The case would be heard again on January 18, 2013.