Court stays order to provide Tehelka report to Fernandes

July 22nd, 2011 - 10:20 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) A Central Information Commission (CIC) order asking the defence ministry to provide a report on the Tehelka defence deal expose to former defence minister George Fernandes was stayed by the Delhi High Court Friday.

On Nov, 23, 2009, the CIC ordered the government to provide complete report of the Justice S.N. Phukan Commission of Inquiry, which probed the Tehelka expose on alleged corruption in defence deals, to Fernandes.

Putting stay on the CIC’s earlier direction, Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said: “The operation of the CIC order is stayed.”

The court was hearing the petition filed by the defence ministry seeking quashing of CIC order, which directed the ministry to provide Fernandes a “complete copy” of the report of the Commission of Inquiry.

Approaching the court in appeal against CIC order, the ministry had clarified that since the complete report was not even tabled in parliament, it could not be provided to Fernandes.

The report cannot be given under the transparency law as it would also breach parliamentary privilege, it said.

Fernandes first approached the PMO on Feb 7, 2008 under the RTI Act seeking the copy of the panel’s report which had probed the Tehelka expose claiming corruption in defence deals during his tenure in the NDA regime.

The government, in its plea, said the information was denied to Fernandes also because of the fact that the CBI was then probing cases registered following the telecast of the sting operation.

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