Chief Information Commissioner to visit Tihar Jail on RTI plea

July 15th, 2008 - 2:11 pm ICT by IANS  

By Mayank Aggarwal
New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) For the first time, India’s Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) will visit the Tihar Jail here Wednesday to meet an Indian Navy officer who has been sacked for alleged espionage and who has filed a plea under the Right to Information (RTI) act questioning his incarceration. “A visit to Tihar is scheduled on July 16. We have two three matters for hearing, which includes the application of Vijender Rana,” CIC Wajahat Habibullah confirmed to IANS.

“Yes, the CIC is coming to Tihar Jail on July 16 to get first hand information in the cases of those prisoners who have filed RTI applications,” Tihar PRO Sunil Gupta said.

“This is for the first time that the CIC is coming to the jail,” Gupta added.

Rana has been lodged in Tihar Jail after having been booked under the Official Secrets Act.

“He had filed an RTI application last month with the Intelligence Bureau to know the basis of his arrest. However, the agency had refused to present the documents concerned,” a Tihar official said.

Rana, a sacked naval commander, is one of the five accused in a case relating to the leak of classified information from the Naval War Room here.

Besides Rana, the other accused are Ravi Shankaran, a relative of former Indian Navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash; retired naval Commander Kulbushan Parashar and sacked naval Commander V.K. Jha, as also retired Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander S.L. Surve.

An Interpol Red Corner lookout notice has been issued against Shankaran, who has been declared a proclaimed offender.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has already filed a charge sheet against the five accused.

According to the CBI, the accused had leaked 7,000 pages of classified defence information that had a direct bearing on national security.

The CBI registered the case March 20, 2006, on a reference from the defence ministry and after scrutiny of the inquiry held by the IAF against Surve and the board of inquiry conducted by the Indian Navy.

The CBI claimed in its 250-page charge sheet that the accused entered into a criminal conspiracy for obtaining and collecting information related to defence matters that was calculated to be or might be or was intended to be useful to the enemy or which related to a matter the disclosure of which, to unauthorised persons, was prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India and the security of the state.

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