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Fadnavis Govt Suspends RTI Officer for Revealing No Meetings Conducted Before Clearing Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train

An inquiry will be conducted against information officer Sarangkumar Patil.

The Maharashtra government has reportedly suspended an information officer for allegedly providing information, which it considers incorrect, under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

According to Firstpost, Sarangkumar Patil had provided documents to RTI activist Jeetendra Ghadge, which revealed that the Devendra Fadnavis-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government had not followed due procedure before clearing the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project.
In February 2017, the state home department had issued a circular about the formation of the subcommittee to conduct an in-depth study of the bullet train project. This subcommittee was supposed to be headed by CM Devendra Fadnavis. Six months later, the department issued another circular approving the project. The documents obtained by Ghadge under RTI, however, revealed that the subcommittee had cleared the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project without meeting even once. The RTI response, as per the report, read: “You have sought information on the meetings of the cabinet sub-committee. So far, not even one meeting has been held.”

Speaking to Mumbai Mirror, Fadnavi, however, denied these claims. He said, “Selective information was asked under the RTI Act. The state cabinet made a decision. The committee had held meetings.” Of course, neither Fadnavis nor the Maharashtra government has shared any further information on any supposed meetings or analysis.

Speaking to Firstpost, Ghadge said, “He had given the information available in the file. I had also inspected the file thoroughly, but I did not get any information on any meetings conducted by the subcommittee. There was no correspondence, minutes or report of the subcommittee meeting. The Chief Minister’s Office is clearly misleading by not sharing the dates of the meeting, yet insisting that the information is incorrect. I hope better sense prevails and the suspension is cancelled.”

The Home Department of Maharashtra will conduct an inquiry against Patil now.

Also read: Changes In RTI Act’s Privacy Clause Will Allow Corrupt Babus To Escape Public Scrutiny: IC

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