Fake-encounter report sought

The Central Information Commission has directed the Union home secretary to produce the complete records related to former CRPF IG Rajnish Rai's report on a fake encounter by forces, the stern order making it clear that "no part of the document" could be withheld.

  • Published 11.09.18
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New Delhi: The Central Information Commission has directed the Union home secretary to produce the complete records related to former CRPF IG Rajnish Rai's report on a fake encounter by forces, the stern order making it clear that "no part of the document" could be withheld.

The ministry of home affairs (MHA) had earlier failed to produce the records despite two notices from the CIC.

The commission did not mince words as it reminded the secretary to the ministry that it was summoning the records under the Right to Information Act, which gives the CIC the powers of a civil court to call for any document from a public authority.

"The respondent MHA through Secretary, MHA, shall take due notice under Section 18(4) of the RTI Act and no part of the document summoned shall be withheld from the Commission," information commissioner Yashovardhan Azad said.

An RTI application had sought a copy of the report on a fake encounter by a joint team of security forces in Assam that resulted in the death of two persons.

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) had cited Section 24 of the RTI Act to deny its disclosure. The section exempts the force from any disclosure under the RTI law except when the information sought relates to allegations of human rights violations. PTI

When the matter reached the commission, the CRPF claimed the documents were with the home ministry. But the ministry did not produce the documents despite two notices from the transparency panel.

Azad, in his latest order, said the rival contentions could not be weighed and adjudicated without the report, the subject matter of the adjudication. He said it was neither feasible nor pragmatic to form an opinion over the disclosure of a document without knowing the contents.

The information commissioner said a "last and final opportunity" had been granted to the ministry to produce the inquiry report with the relevant files.

The commission, he said, would take a view after examining the report and other documents within the ambit of the queries.

According to reports, Rai had filed the report last year with the CRPF top brass. It chronicled how a joint team from the army, Assam Police, the CRPF, its jungle warfare unit CoBRA and the border guarding force SSB had conducted the March 29-30, 2017, encounter in Chirang district and killed what it called were two insurgents of the banned NDFB-S.

The 1992-batch, Gujarat-cadre officer, who recently resigned from the Indian Police Service, had in his report alleged that information about the incident and the FIR filed by the joint squad presented a "fictitious account" of the operation to "conceal pre-planned murders of two persons in custody and present it as some brave act of professional achievement". PTI

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