Nation
Congress-NCP govt removed Anti-Corruption Bureau from RTI just before polls

A notification, which has still not been put up on the Maharashtra government’s website and only appears on the ACB portal, declares ACB out of ambit of RTI Act. Whom was the Congress-NCP government trying to save and why?

 

When the central or the state government finds some influential Neta or babu on a sticky wicket, they for sure try to kill transparency. The union government put Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) out of the Right to Information (RTI) Act sometime back. Suddenly, last month Maharashtra government also decided to put the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) out of RTI ambit, leading to a wave of protests from activists across the state, as they just discovered this mean trick.

What is strange that every notification issued by the General Administration Department (GAD) is put up on the Maharashtra government’s website but the one about ACB having been put outside the RTI Act, is yet to be uploaded, although it was issued on 6 September 2014. It has been only recently put up on the ACB website. What is also strange is that, such a notification, which directly affects the public at large, is required to be put up before the public for suggestions and objections but that has not been done at all. In a most suspicious manner, ACB has been removed from RTI by the Congress-NCP government just before the Assembly elections.


RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar, who is pursuing the alleged land scam and financial irregularities by the controversial bureaucrat Prabhakar Deshmukh, has been tracking a complaint lodged with the ACB, demanding an inquiry against the IAS officer. For full details on Kumbhar’s investigations read this story in Moneylife:   

 

http://www.moneylife.in/article/pune-div-commissioner-prabhakar-deshmukhs-land-scam-exposed/36456.html

Last week, when Kumbhar tried following up on the status of investigations against Deshmukh at the ACB, he was casually told by a middle level official that the department is out of the RTI Act. The official asked Kumbhar to check the ACB website.  Kumbhar says, “This was a shocking revelation to me. Does ACB come neither under ‘security’ nor `intelligence to merit it from being secret? This is a dirty trick done by the previous government to shield not only Prabhakar Deshmukh but other high level politicians as well.’’

Allegedly, there is another twist to the story. Prabhakar Mategaonkar, a Mumbai-based social activist had lodged a complaint with the ACB against Ajit Pawar’s alleged corruption in the Rs73,000 crore irrigation scam. The permission to start investigations was given to the ACB on 22nd August. Similarly, a complaint has been lodged against Harshavardhan Patil, another prominent minister in the Congress-NCP government. By a strange coincidence, the notification came up on 6th September.  By the way, a notification has been signed by the Governor after it was passed by the Assembly. The ACB seemed reluctant to prosecute such VIPs and so a notification, which was surreptitiously passed, seems to have been a convenient option.

Lt Gen Sudhir Jatar (retd), a prominent RTI activist, says, “I had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the High Court wherein very senior officers have been involved, which came to light only because I could access the relevant report of the ACB. It is sad that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was openly and shamelessly corrupt from top to bottom. I, of course, doubt if the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government will reverse these orders!’’

Many RTI activists across the state are rallying around Kumbhar regarding this issue. One of them, Vivek Velankar from Pune said, “The union government removed CBI; the state government removes ACB – this is all abuse of power and no respect for transparency.”

In fact, the Special Branch of Police is also out of the RTI Act in Maharashtra. So, your RTI requisition gets stone walled even if you ask a simply query like the number of foreigners staying in Pune.

To conclude, after nine years of RTI Act, the strangulation by the powers that be, continues. Let us all put up a fight against the ACB deletion.

BOX:

The following quick reading on Section 24 of the RTI Act will reveal as to why ACB cannot be out of the RTI Act and procedure to be followed for any deletion:

 
24        (1)                    Nothing contained in this Act shall apply to the intelligence and security organisations specified in the Second Schedule, being organisations established by the Central Government or any information furnished by such organisations to that Government:
                                  
Provided that the information pertaining to the allegations of corruption and human rights violations shall not be excluded under this sub-section:
 
                                    Provided further that in the case of information sought for is in respect of allegations of violation of human rights, the information shall only be provided after the approval of the Central Information Commission, and notwithstanding anything contained in section 7, such information shall be provided within forty-five days from the date of the receipt of request.


            (2)                   The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, amend the Schedule by including therein any other intelligence or security organisation established by that Government or omitting therefrom any organisation already specified therein and on the publication of such notification, such organisation shall be deemed to be included in or, as the case may be, omitted from the Schedule.


            (3)                   Every notification issued under sub-section (2) shall be laid before each House of Parliament.


            (4)                   Nothing contained in this Act shall apply to such intelligence and security organisation being organisations established by the State Government, as that Government may, from time to time, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify:


                                    Provided that the information pertaining to the allegations of corruption and human rights violations shall not be excluded under this sub-section:


                                    Provided further that in the case of information sought for is in respect of allegations of violation of human rights, the information shall only be provided after the approval of the State Information Commission and, notwithstanding anything contained in section 7, such information shall be provided within forty-five days from the date of the receipt of request.


            (5)                   Every notification issued under sub-section (4) shall be laid before the State Legislature

(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)

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COMMENTS

manoharlalsharma

2 years ago

we understand that Congress do not able to understand the mindset of INDIAN citizen but what about N.C.P.? which boast of by name itself as NATIONAL but it do not RECOGNIZE other than MAHARASHTRIANS any way now voted out the govt and it was understood so it has removed Anti-Corruption Bureau to shelter the CRIMINAL from R.T.I. just before polls

manoharlalsharma

2 years ago

we understand that Congress do not able to understand the mindset of INDIAN citizen but what about N.C.P.? which boast of by name itself as NATIONAL but it do not RECOGNIZE other than MAHARASHTRIANS any way now voted out the govt and it was understood so it has removed Anti-Corruption Bureau to shelter the CRIMINAL from R.T.I. just before polls

manoharlalsharma

2 years ago

we understand that Congress do not able to understand the mindset of INDIAN citizen but what about N.C.P.? which boast of by name itself as NATIONAL but it do not RECOGNIZE other than MAHARASHTRIANS any way now voted out the govt and it was understood so it has removed Anti-Corruption Bureau to shelter the CRIMINAL from R.T.I. just before polls

Avinash Murkute

2 years ago

Congratulations ACB. As such ACB was not of any use when it came to fighting corruption because ACB was mere TRAP agency and nothing more plus publicity stings for few media hungry B-Cats.

Suiketu Shah

2 years ago

moneylife is the 1st to report this.This shows how shallow the tv and print press is.Congrats Moneylife.happy Diwali and new yr.

avi

2 years ago

Lets not stop at the fact that hese utterly corrupt thugs lost the election.Now lets bring them to book.Otherwise the oney stays with them and the audacity to commit such crimes will show up again.Lets end this once and for all.

When ‘khul-ja SIM SIM’ can create troubles for you

Shopping for a phone during Diwali? Check the SIM card socket on the mobile you plan to buy; otherwise, you will spend a few hours getting your SIM resized and re-activated

 

A friend of mine was so happy to be one of the first customers to buy Apple's new iPhone 6. However, his joy was short lived. Reason? His existing mobile subscriber identity module (SIM) card was too big for the new handset. So he has to visit his mobile services provider, re-submit  know-you-customer (KYC) documents, buy a new nano SIM suitable for iPhone6, wait for over two hours for its activation and so on -- all this on the eve of Diwali. 

 

Isn't this the same story for almost everyone who has bought a new mobile handset? Mobile phone companies are unconcerned about the hassles caused to consumers when the hard sell newer models at a discount through online shopping channels.  And strangely enough, most of us are more focussed on the features of the phone and do not even remember to think about the SIM. 

 

Some of you may remember a SIM card full of metal tips/ plates all over. The size of these SIM cards (mini SIMs, to be specific) remained same for quite some time, albeit the metal plates shrank in dimension.
 

 

Then all of a sudden, phone companies introduced micro SIM cards. You then had the choice of having your SIM changed by submitting documents to your telecom service provider or, if you were more adventurous opt for the jugaad of ever-ready friendly neighbourhood shop. These quick-thinking entrepreneurs understood the hassles of queuing up at the mobile company batter than the multinational phone makers who decided to downsize the SIM card. They simply structured a SIM cutter, which looks like a stapler and cut the regular SIM down to a micro SIM that could fit into the appropriate slot. 

 

I used this myself when I switched phones. I asked an entrepreneur 'train friend' to carry the cutter with him in the train -- slipped in my regular SIM, press down and voila! I had a new micro SIM that worked perfectly. 

 

Cost wise there is not much difference between procuring a new micro SIM from the service provider (about Rs25 per SIM) and getting it cut from road side shop (about Rs10-20), a few rupees here and there. However, getting the job done from neighbourhood shop definitely saves you time and from trouble of submitting all KYC documents again.

 

You even have the option to buying the cutter online. One such two-in-one universal cutter is available for as low as Rs199 (including delivery charges). Moreover, you can even buy adaptor kit for nano, mini and micro SIM cards. This would be helpful, in case you frequently change handsets.

 

Now, let us discuss the technicalities of SIMs. Roughly, there are five types of SIM modules. Full-size SIMs were followed by mini-SIMs, micro-SIMs, and nano-SIMs. SIMs are also made to be embedded in devices.

 

Munich smart-card maker Giesecke & Devrient, who sold the first 300 SIM cards to the Finnish wireless network operator Radiolinja, introduced the first SIM, known as full size or 1FF in 1991. It has size of a credit card. Luckily, India was saved from using this large size SIM cards because by the time, mobile phones were introduced in the country, the mini SIM had arrived. The first mobile cellular phone was launched in India on 31 July 1995 and a first call was made from a Nokia 2110 handset.

 

What most of us have been using and was compatible for most handsets are mini SIMs, also known as 2FF in technical language. During 2003, micro SIM (3FF) entered the market. It had the same thickness, but its length and width was reduced.

 

The micro-SIM was designed for backward compatibility. The major issue for backward compatibility was the contact area of the chip. Retaining the same contact area allows the micro-SIM to be compatible with the prior, larger SIM readers using plastic cut out surrounds. The SIM was also designed to run at the same speed (5 MHz) as the prior version. The same size and positions of pins resulted in numerous "How-to" tutorials and YouTube video with detailed instructions how to cut a mini-SIM card to micro-SIM size with a sharp knife or scissors. The iPhone 4 was the first smartphone to use a micro-SIM card in June 2010. Later the Samsung Galaxy S3/S4, various Nokia Lumia handsets, the Nokia N9 and the Sony Xperia followed.

 

Then on 11 October 2012, nano SIMs (4FF) were introduced. Nano SIMs can be put into adapters for use with devices taking 2FF or 3FF SIMs. The iPhone 5, released in September 2012, was the first device to use a nano-SIM card.

 

Another type is SIM that is being introduced is embedded-SIM or surface mount SON-8 package that is directly soldered to the circuit board during production. This is mostly used in devices where there is no need to change SIM card. This as a result avoids the need for a connector, improves reliability and security. Few days ago, Apple has introduced iPad devices having an embedded SIM. Media has been reporting on this calling the embedded SIM as Apple SIM.

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Sarita Devi suspended by AIBA for protesting at Asiad

Sarita Devi will not be allowed to participate in the AIBA women's world boxing championships in Jeju Islands in Korea

 

Taking a strict action, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has provisionally suspended India's woman boxer Laishram Sarita Devi for refusing to accept the bronze medal at the Asian Games podium ceremony.

 

Protesting against a controversial verdict, Sarita in an unprecedented move, had refused to wear the medal around her neck as she broke down on the podium during the ceremony for the 57-60 kg category.

 

"The AIBA also provisionally suspended Sarita's coaches (Gurbakhsh Singh Sandhu, Blas Iglesias Fernandez and Sagar Mal Dhayal) as well as Indian chef-de-mission in the Incheon Asiad, Adille J Sumariwalla and will not allow any of them to participate at all levels of competitions, events and meetings until further notice," an AIBA statement said.

 

This case has been sent for review by the AIBA Disciplinary Commission and it means that Sarita Devi, the above mentioned coaches as well as Sumariwalla, will not be allowed to participate in the AIBA women's world boxing championships in Jeju Islands (Korea), 2014, the statement added.

 

The 29-year-old boxer accepted the medal in her hand and wiped her tears holding it, before handing it to South Korean silver medallist Ji-Na Park, who had defeated Sarita after a-what-seemed-to-be a 'bad' referee decision.

 

Even though the AIBA had taken note of her written apology, the international body surprisingly decided to suspend the boxer and the national coaches.

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COMMENTS

Chandresh Prakash

2 years ago

Politics is over encompassing! Sports and other fields have to take a back seat when it comes to politics. And this is true of the international sports federations as well. Be it UPA or NDA, they have least interest in improving sports conditions or encourage good sportsmen - rather they have to further their interest sadly but that is the current fact of life!

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