CICS IN THE DOCK
Two CICS stand accused of conniving with the police to harass businessman- turned- RTI activist
Two of Rajasthan’s chief information commissioners ( CICS) are under scrutiny after the state’s Anti- Corruption Bureau ( ACB) acknowledged allegations against them by RTI activist Goverdhan Singh Pariar of Bikaner. He had petitioned Bikaner’s Special Court ( Anti- Corruption) in December 2011, alleging that the two CICS— one retired, the other serving— had reversed an order and backdated it to favour certain police officers.
The suspects are M. D. Kaurani, who retired in April 2011, and his successor T. Srinivasan. On June 11, 2012, ACB confirmed that the CICS had tampered with the date of judgment, and that the order had abnormalities.
Pariar ran a firm that provided billing services to the state’s mobile service providers, but lost it all in his crusade against corrupt officials. It started when, in an RTI in 2009, he sought property details of a senior Bikaner police officer, which earned him the police’s wrath. In February 2010, they filed nine palpably false cases against him. Soon after, they seized his house and SUV. After he escaped arrest, Shanti Dhariwal, then home minister, told the Assembly in March 2010 that Pariar was a criminal with 16 FIRS against his name. “Police wanted to kill me in an encounter,” claims Pariar.
His wife Sushil Kanwar used RTI to seek information on cases against him from Director General of Police ( DGP) H. C. Meena. She appealed to Kaurani to intervene in July 2010, who summoned the DGP on February 22, 2011. The DGP sent over a sub- inspector instead. Pariar says Kaurani and Srinivasan then ordered the police to give him all data on his case, and warned Meena. But Pariar did not get his copy of this order that day. When he did, the adverse comment on the DGP was missing. It was also dated April 15, 2011, though it was not on the CIC’S cause list.
Through an RTI, Pariar found two orders on his case, dated February 22 and April 15, 2011. Kaurani says he remembers signing one order. New CIC Srinivasan admits there were two. “The first was a draft Kaurani dictated. Since it had sensitive information, we later amended it,” he says. He also says copies of the orders that Pariar got on a CD via RTI were unsigned. “Content must first be authenticated. Unless a note is signed by the bench and notified, how can it be called an order?” he says, conveniently ignoring the fact that electronic orders, like the one on Pariar’s CD, can’t carry signatures.