Would the information regarding oil-for-food scam be revealed under RTI?
A committee was set up by the United Nations under the chairmanship of Paul Volcker in 2004 to probe corruption in the Oil-for-Food Programme in Iraq. In the Volcker committee report, the former External Affairs Minister Shri Natwar Singh was allegedly included in the list of the beneficiaries.
An application was filed under Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking the file related to the report of Virendra Dayal, appointed by the government as special envoy to coordinate with UN officials on the Paul Volcker Committee report. The Central Information Commission (CIC) had directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED), to produce the file related to the investigation for its perusal to enable the CIC to decide whether the information merits disclosure. The production of records was challenged before the Supreme Court which, in 2010, had ruled in favour of producing the documents related to the oil-for-food scam before the CIC. Two years late and in spite of repeated applications under RTI, the decision regarding disclosure is yet to be taken in the matter. The Ministry of Finance has affirmed that the file is with Enforcement Directorate, which is an organisation beyond the purview of the RTI Act, except in cases of corruption or human rights violation.