Commissioner (IT) directed to probe into contradictory submissions made by the two PIOs
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Income Tax Department seeking copies of two letters issued Joint Commissioner Income Tax (JCIT) to Commissioner Income Tax (CIT). The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied the information stating that investigation against him was under way so disclosure of information at this juncture would impact the investigation and the same is exempt for disclosure under section 8(1)(h) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders; of the RTI Act.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant submitted that penalty proceedings against him had been set aside by the Central Board of Direct Tax (CBDT) and matter has been referred back to the CIT for reconsideration. The PIO submitted that letter dated 4.3.09 has been located and its contents are not related to the disciplinary proceedings against the appellant. The other letter dated 16.3.09 could not be traced.
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The Commission directed the PIO to provide a copy of letter to the appellant. The CIC also noted that the earlier PIO had informed the appellant that his request for copies of the two letters sought under the RTI Act, cannot be provided as an investigation against the appellant was underway. Later, the current PIO stated that the letter dated 4.3.09 is untraceable. The Commission held that there are contradictions between the responses of the two PIOs and a letter which was earlier available is now reported to be untraceable raises suspicion. The Commission directed the CIT to probe into these contradictions and submit a report to the Commission.
Citation: Mr. R .K. Mahajan v. Income Tax Department in File No.CIC/DS/A/2011/003252/RM
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/914
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