The complete records of the Justice J S Verma Commission of Inquiry into security lapses that led to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination is not traceable, according to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
The commission was set up to probe the security lapses and the conspiracy behind the former PM’s assassination at Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991. It submitted its report in June 1992 to the MHA.
The shocking revelation that the complete records of the report are not traceable came to light during a recent hearing into an RTI application of A G Perarivalan, a death row convict in the case, on July 9, 2013. Perarivalan had sought information on the reports of the Verma Commission and the Justice M C Jain Commission of Inquiry under the RTI Act. He had also sought certified copies of all records, documents, minutes of meetings, correspondence and file notings between the MHA and the two commissions during the probe.
The MHA, in its response to the CIC, said “...the records/information pertaining to 1991 onwards and the subject matter had been handled in different divisions/sections in the MHA. The MHA has now been able to locate some records pertaining to the Jain Commission. However, the complete records pertaining to Verma Commission is still not traceable.”
Perarivalan submitted the RTI plea on October 7, 2011, under the life and liberty provision of the RTI Act. It is mandatory to provide the information sought in 24 to 48 hours under the provision.
The Chief Public Information Officer (CPIO) of MHA forwarded it to Internal Security and other divisions on November 14, 2011. The respondents on November 25 forwarded it to all CPIOs of the MHA under section 6(3) since the information related to the over 20-year-old case. Every section of the MHA replied that “the information doesn’t pertain to them and hence did not provide any information”.