Parrikar says RTI came to his aid in graft case

Panaji, Aug 5 (IANS) Aggressive use of the Right to Information (RTI) Act led to his exoneration in a graft case being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said.

Making a Facebook update late Sunday, Parrikar also dismissed allegations of local RTI activists who said he had tried to scuttle the act in Goa.

"Conspiracy, if any, to defame the Government will be inquired into," Parrikar said on the social networking site.

The Goa chief minister explained how taking the RTI route to its logical conclusion had helped him obtain official documents to slug it out against the CBI case filed by a Congress politician, accusing him of corruption while building infrastructure for the first International Film Festival of India (IFFI) of 2004 in Goa.

"In fact, I had successfully fought against CBI right up to Central Information Commission to get a very positive order," Parrikar said.

The Goa chief minister has consistently maintained that the case was bogus and had been filed with political intentions. He was exonerated by the CBI.

Parrikar said the accusations against him of trying to gradually scuttle the RTI act by trying to keep the Vigilance Department out of its ambit were false, and that he was not even aware of the noting which had been moved by the officials in the department.

"A lot has been discussed and debated about bringing the Vigilance Department under the ambit of RTI based on the leaked information. I had no knowledge of the proposal but the RTI activists had the knowledge and they were attempting to take full press publicity for the same," he said, accusing RTI activists of using the matter to put him in poor light.

Calling his own department's proposal "most regressive and negative", the chief minister said that while the RTI had been misused by a few, it was still a powerful tool for the common man.

"RTI might have been misused by few but overall, RTI has been the most powerful tool in the hands of common man who otherwise has to bear the brunt of dictatorial and sometimes corrupt officials," he said.

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