NEW DELHI: THE Central Information Commission has rejected a plea seeking the disclosure of records related to a controversial now-disbanded covert unit set up by Union minister and former Army chief V K Singh, saying it would affect the security of the country.
The plea was filed by Aparna Datta Bakshi, wife of Colonel Munishwar Nath “Hunny” Bakshi who headed the Technical Support Division (TSD), seeking a report submitted by Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia who had probed the unit’s operations. “The commission strongly believes that if information of this nature is put in the public domain, it will invite unnecessary speculation and will have substantive bearing on national security and will have international implications,” said information commissioner Divya Prakash Sinha. “We have to bear in mind that the intelligence gathering mechanism is, by its nature, very sensitive and impinges on the security of the country”.
The information commissioner had carried out an in-camera hearing to peruse the file containing Lt Gen Bhatia’s report. Sinha said the report of the board of officers had brought out various objectives of the TSD, details of its methodology, tradecraft as well as operational expenditure of the Secret Service Fund. “The commission observes after the perusal of documents/files that invoking Section 10 of the RTI Act is not possible in this case because various issues finding mention in the reports/files shown to the commission are interlinked and any disclosure would compromise the strategic security of the country,” said Sinha.