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Army Declines To Give Info On Corruption Under RTI

New Delhi, Dec 1: The information about senior army officers facing allegations of corruption is "voluminous" and its disclosure would not serve any "public interest", the force has said.The image of nearly 1.2 million strong
PTI December 01, 2010 16:47 IST
PTI
New Delhi, Dec 1: The information about senior army officers facing allegations of corruption is "voluminous" and its disclosure would not serve any "public interest", the force has said.

The image of nearly 1.2 million strong Indian Army has taken a beating following allegations of financial irregularities against some senior officers in Adarsh Scam, Sukna Land row among others.

Exercising his Right to Information, an applicant had sought to know from the army the details of serving officers from the rank of Brigadier and above who are facing allegations of corruption and inquiries that are either going on or completed.

"Information sought... is not going to serve any public interest, for which Public Information Officer is not obliged to provide. Moreover, information sought is considered as voluminous in nature and compiling of the same will disproportionately divert the time/resources of this office and is exempted (from disclosure)," the army said in the reply.

According to the RTI Act, information about corruption should be provided to an information seeker even if it relates to intelligence and security organisations which are otherwise exempted from making any disclosure under the transparency law.

However, former and serving officers have a mixed opinion on the disclosure of such information about serving officers as some feel it may disturb the "chain of command" while others feel that barring names and unit details, other information can be given which will help in boosting the image of the force.

"Revealing names of officers facing probe in corruption cases may not be ethically correct because an accused is deemed to be innocent till proved guilty. But as far as providing statistical information about the numbers of such officers is concerned, it can be given. I don't think there should be much problem with that," Major General (Retd) G D Bakshi told PTI.

A serving officer, requesting anonymity, said issue of corruption in higher ranks of army was quite serious and disclosing information about officers facing such allegations will help the army itself as it would show that such "rotten eggs" were just an aberration.

"Corruption in army is the result of peace time culture that is creeping into the force as it has not seen any substantial action since Operation Vijay over 10 years ago. The problem also lies with some of the former Generals who have reached the top without facing any substantial action in their career. They had a peace time mindset which distorts our value system and is corrosive," Bakshi claimed.