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sidmis posted a topic in RTI in MediaAccused of espionage, officer takes RTI route for probe info as reported by Abhinav Garg 2 Nov 2008 TNN Times of India NEW DELHI: A former intelligence officer facing trial in a case of espionage, has got Delhi police's special cell on the defensive through deft use of RTI Act. On his RTI plea, the Central Information Commission has directed special cell to spell out the criteria by which an officer is deemed to be an "expert'' in forensics and cyber crime or to examine electronic evidence. A Bench headed by the Chief Information Commisioner Wajahat Habibullah further ordered that Delhi police furnish the RTI applicant with a copy of guidelines/order, if any have been issued to the force for handling computer/electronic or cyber evidences during search and seizure by investigating officers. The directions came on a plea filed by a retired naval commander, Mukesh Saini who is currently being tried for offence of leaking sensitive national security data abroad, under the stringent sections of Official Secrets Act, besides certain sections of IPC. He was picked up by the special cell in 2006 and is accused of espionage while working as electronic security specialist in National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS). Since an overwhelming portion of evidence lined up against him is in electronic form, comprising hard disk, pen drive and computer floppies allegedly recovered from his office, the accused moved an RTI plea from his cell in Tihar, and sought from DCP special cell information on competence of cyber expert of the Cell. In his application, Saini demanded to know if inspector O P Shrivastav, who has gleaned evidence against him from hard disks and electronic records, is a government scientific expert or a private cyber forensic expert. Invoking the "life and liberty clause'' under RTI Act (which makes it mandatory for a public authority to furnish information within 48 hours), Saini also sought to know details of cyber forensic tools used by the Special Cell's cyber laboratory. Lastly, he claimed that during his stint with NSCS he helped draft a comprehensive guideline for handling cyber evidence during seizure, which was handed over to MHA for forwarding it to police forces across the country. Saini added this in his plea, seeking to know if such a guideline was being followed by cops. Predictably, his request for information was declined on the ground it fell under information exempted covered by section 8 (1) (h) of RTI Act, with Delhi police claiming this would "impede the process of investigation.'' His first appeal to Jt CP Karnail Singh yielded similar result, leaving Saini with little choice but to move CIC. His luck changed at CIC, which in its recent order noted, "since on basis of the inspectors report a criminal case has been launched against Mukesh Saini it is responsibility of the probe agency to justify why they have so deemed....it isn't understandable how providing this information would impede the investigations.'' Accused of espionage, officer takes RTI route for probe info-Delhi-Cities-The Times of India
Dear friends, I have just joined RTI India. Those of you have been following the recent articles by Veerappa Moily, A Suyra Prakash etc that have been posted may have read about me. I am a retired Army officer, who served in RAW for about 31/2 years. Last year I wrote a book titled INDIA'S EXTERNAL INTELLIGENCE - SECRET OF RESEARCH & ANALYSIS WING (RAW) in which I pointed out several anomalies such as lack of transparency and accountability, corruption, indiscipline and so on. For my efforts, I am being prosecuted under the infamous Official Secrets Act, 1923. So much for the brief introduction. I will soon post a detailed brief giving the latest situation, especially the systematic manner in which the bureaucracy stone walls the use of the RTI Act to obtain 'uncomfortable' information. Regards Maj Gen VK Singh
AHMEDABAD: If additional Director General of Police O P Mathur is to be believed, CID is now 'Criminal Intelligence Department'. In a last ditch attempt to escape accountability under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, Mathur has submitted before the Gujarat Information Commission (GIC) that â€œCID stands for criminal intelligence department and therefore, falls under the category of security agency.â€ TOI had filed an RTI application on the Sohrabuddin encounter case, on which, the CID had denied information, stating a state government notification exempting it from RTI. This exemption has been challenged and is being heard at GIC. The RTI Act allows state governments to exempt 'intelligence and security organisations' established by them. Information in respect of allegations of corruption and human rights violations shall be excluded. It was argued earlier before the GIC that CID is an investigative agency and not an 'intelligence and security organisation' as exempted under the RTI. It was also argued that if CBI is not in the Central government's list of exempted organisations, how can CID be exempted here. Mathur, in his written submissions has again denied access to information, arguing disclosure would impede the process of investigation, in this case - the Sohrabuddin encounter. He also has quoted an apex court decision, which criticises 'trial by media'. On why CID should not be put under the RTI ambit, Mathur has submitted that it is not, only an investigative agency, it collects intelligence pertaining to crime and criminals, keeps a watch over narco-terrorism, influx of counterfeit notes, organised crime, and looks into the country's internal security. According to Police Bhavan sources, Mathur was so jittery about the hearing at GIC on Wednesday, that he despatched an inspector general rank officer to observe and report to him on the proceedings. 'I' in CID stands for 'intelligence'-Ahmedabad-Cities-The Times of India