‘Kashmir News Trust #KNT
In a major development with regard to the infamous Rs 31 Crores NPA account of M/s Himgiri Infrastructure Development (P) Ltd. which had availed term loan from Link Road Branch of J&K Bank Ltd. for financing 3 MW Hydel Project (SAL-II) at village Sahoo (Chamba), Himachal Pradesh, the Central Information Commission, New Delhi has fixed 2nd Appeal for final hearing on September 23rd, 2022 filed by Irtiza Mushtaq-a Jammu based lawyer who in December 2020 had filed a 2nd Appeal before the CIC, New Delhi against the denial of information by the PIO, J&K Bank Ltd., Zonal Office, Jammu Central-1 on October 29th, 2020 and later affirmed by the First Appellate Authority of the J&K Bank on November, 23rd, 2020.
Advocate Irtiza Mushtaq had filed an RTI application on September 28th, 2020 before the PIO, J&K Bank Ltd. wherein he sought the current status of the accounts maintained by the Link Road Branch of J&K Bank Ltd. with regard to M/s Himgiri Infrastructure Development (P) Ltd. and whose promoters, directors, shareholders, guarantors and beneficiaries are Dr. Nirmal Singh (Former Deputy CM, J&K), Kavinder Gupta (Former Deputy CM, J&K), Jugal Kishore Sharma (Member of Parliament), Mrs. Mamta Singh (JU Employee) W/o Dr. Nirmal Singh & others.
The RTI applicant/Advocate Irtiza Mushtaq also sought the information with regard to any settlement arrived at between the Bank and M/s Himgiri Infrastructure Development (P) Ltd. In the RTI application, the applicant also sought the information about the launching of civil/criminal proceedings, if any, by the J&K Bank Ltd against the VVIP defaulters.
On October 29th, 2020, the PIO, J&K Bank vide Ref. No. JKB/ZOJC1/BR/2020-21-195 declined to furnish the information and the PIO in the rejection order took the plea that the information sought is exempted from disclosure in view of section 8 (1) (d) and 8 (1) (j) of RTI Act, 2005. The PIO further held that the information sought is a matter of commercial confidence, besides, invasion of privacy of the individual and thus, cannot be shared. Thereafter, the RTI applicant filed 1st Appeal before the First Appellate Authority of the J&K Bank who vide Order No. JKB/ZOJC1/2020-869 dated November 23rd, 2020 rejected the 1st Appeal and upheld the order passed by the PIO.
Against the denial of the information, a 2nd Appeal came to be filed by Advocate Irtiza Mushtaq on December 12th, 2020 before the Central Information Commission, New Delhi wherein the appellant has reiterated his previous grounds that the details of NPA accounts cannot be withheld and are not exempted from disclosure under the RTI Act as held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in catena of Judgements as well as by the CIC. The appellant has cited several Judgements of CIC and Supreme Court of India in support of his contentions and the matter is going to be heard finally on September 23rd, 2022 by a Bench of Central Information Commission, New Delhi. (KNT)