Activists have urged the CM to fill up the posts immediately as RTI applications to various state government departments remain unanswered
RTI activists and citizens are perturbed that Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has been dilly-dallying with the appointments to the vacant posts in the state information commission, and have said that he needs to be proactive in the implementation of Right to Information (RTI) Act and address the problems that activists face.
Moneylife has written about the chief minister’s reluctance in filling up key posts in the state information commission, despite a reminder from Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi. Read Threat to RTI in Maharashtra
Bhaskar Prabhu, an RTI activist and convenor of Mahiti Adhikar Manch, said, “We had expected better treatment for the RTI from the present chief minister as he had shown much interest in it when he was in the central government. But we are unable to get a clue what turned him into a silence spectator when he came to Maharashtra.”
Mr Prabhu added that the Mahiti Adhikar Manch and Maharashtra RTI Council had also taken up the issue with Mr Chavan.
Vijay Kumbhar, a journalist-turned RTI activist commented on the matter, “I have written to the chief minister many times, and have sent him many messages. He hasn’t taken any decision on the matter.” Mr Kumbhar has asked Mr Gandhi as to what steps should be taken to ensure proper implementation of RTI in the state.
“Even Anna Hazare has written three letters in last one month to the chief minister on this issue; but CM has not replied to him,” said Vivek Velankar, an eminent RTI activist.
Public Concern for Government Trust (PCGT) has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) regarding the matter. Dara Gandhi, managing trustee of PCGT said, “The PIL was filed last week and the hearing may come any day. We have complained that key posts in the state information commission are lying vacant, and that is harming the Act itself. The appointments should be made immediately.”
Sanjay Shirodkar, who had earlier successfully argued before the Central Information Commission that private infrastructure entities like Mumbai International Airport (MIAL) must come under the purview of RTI, said that even after his success, he has received no response from the government. He has filed many applications with various authorities like public works department, water resources department, urban development department and MMRDA. “Many of the departments I have written to are under the chief minister. Yes, I can say RTI in Maharashtra is in bad shape,” he commented.
SEBI investigations revealed that Monalisha Securities, a sub-broker of Intec Shares and Stock brokers, indulged in structured deals during the period.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has fined Monalisha Securities Rs2 lakh for manipulating the Videocon and NRB Bearing scrips. These scrips were manipulated between 1 May 2004 and 15 June 2004.
SEBI investigations revealed that Monalisha Securities, a sub-broker of Intec Shares and Stock brokers (ISSBL), indulged in structured deals during the period.
SEBI's investigation revealed that delivery of shares were neither given nor taken, creating artificial volume and impacting the price of the scrips.
Monalisha Securities was involved in 16 structured deals across six settlements in Videocon on the NSE. On all six days, the transactions were reversed within a minute of the first trade and positions at the end of the day used to be nil. The total quantity traded in all these deals was 74,000 shares.
Similarly, in the NRB Bearings scrip 24,000 shares were traded in total across 13 structured deals on three days and the same story was repeated. The trade had been done through the broker ISSBL for its ultimate client Classic Investments on three days for 12,000 shares and contributed for 27.54% of the gross traded quantity of the market. Classic Investments had not done any delivery based trading. When structured deals took place, the trade was reversed within a minute of the first trade. The total quantity traded in all these deals is 24000 shares. In all these deals, the counter-party was Mansukh. Mansukh booked losses and ISSB, profits.
This clearly indicates that the orders were placed with a prior understanding that those will be picked up by a particular client on the opposite side, which also indicates that there was a prior understanding with the brokers who had dealt on its own account and for clients and executed large number of such transactions. Such type of transactions can not be called genuine transactions.
Finance minister said the CAG is a constitutional body created since the time of Britishers and its job is to find faults with the government.
The government today downplayed the draft CAG report on coal block allocations with Finance Minister Pranab Mukerjee stating that 90% of the issues raised by the auditor at initial stage are dropped.
“After obtaining comments of the ministries, 90% of the issues raised by the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India) are dropped. That is the normal practice and it is going on for the last 150 years,” the Finance Minister said at a FICCI meeting. He said the CAG is a Constitutional body created since the time of Britishers and its job is to find faults with the government.
“I have repeatedly stated (its job is) to find out fault and not to praise the government and certify that government has done a good job. Why... unneccessary... sensationalisation takes place,” Mr Mukherjee asked and added, “what is new if the irregularities are found out in the CAG report and those are to be addressed by Parliament.”
Based on the CAG draft report, he said, it was stated that there is a Rs10 trillion shortfall in the exchequer because of the coal allocation. The issue has rocked Parliament after which the Prime Minister Office released a letter received from CAG stating that report in the newspaper was misleading.
Mr Mukherjee said that it is up to Parliament to take a call on the CAG reports.
“The fact of the matter is that it is not a report by itself. CAG is yet to finalise its report,” he added.
The report, he said, will go to Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which will send its views to Parliament.
CAG, he said, “himself explained in its letter to the Prime Minister that no further clarifications are required and needed.”