Will the RTI Act haunt the Goa RTI Chief?

Nandini Sahai, the President of Goa RTI forum has declined to furnish information under Right to Information Act sought from International Centre Goa (ICG) at Dona Paula of which she is the Director.

The Goa District Registrar North by a letter dated 1st July had directed the International Centre to furnish information sought by Ivor Ferreira of St Estevam through his two applications made under the Right to Information Act.

The information sought included educational qualifications, work experience along with the salary, perks and other allowances that Nandini Sahai was entitled to as the Director of  International Centre.

Also sought were details of the bills paid by Sahai’s son and daughter during their stay at International Centre along with the details of their room, food and transport expenditure. Further sought were details of the rooms allotted in the name of Nandini Sahai over the last three years.

Under RTI the details were also sought pertaining to unauthorized alcohol served to government officials at International Centre and later manipulated as food bills.

Interestingly in her letter dated 22nd July 2013 to the District Registrar North while declining to furnish the information sought, Nandini Sahai has stated that the International Centre had sought the legal advice of Advocate General of Goa Atmaram Nadkarni who had opined that the information sought was personal in nature and not of any public interest. Coincidentally Atmaram Nadkarni is also the Life trustee of the International Centre Goa which is funded by the Central Government and the Goa Government.

However Atmaram Nadkarni has told me that he was never consulted and that he never gave such a legal opinion. One however has to take Atmararm Nadkarni’s words with a pinch of salt, knowing his art of manipulating and masking the facts. He is an Ace at that. As to whether Nandini Sahai or Atmaram Nadkarni is lying we shall soon know. I am confident that both are not lying together!

The Right to Information Act does not mandate that the information sought has to be of public interest. It is surprising that Nandini Sahai who is the President of the Goa RTI forum wants to keep the glaring irregularities in her own backyard under wraps. It was rumored last week that she had resigned as the head of the Goa RTI forum. Her name however continues as President on the Goa RTI forum website.  She may also soon have to find a place to rest her tail which is now under the scanner of the Right to Information Act, which she lectured us so much about over the last few years. The path ahead may not be very delightful for Nandini.

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