Refuses to reply to RTI query about its operations saying transparency law does not apply on it

New Delhi : Corporate Debt Restructuring cell of Reserve Bank of India, which has eased loan repayment worth Rs 3.7 lakh crore for top-end businessmen of the country, has refused to reply to an RTI query about its operations saying transparency law does not apply on it.       Former Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi had sought to know from the CDR cell the expenditure on it during financial year 2013-14 and how much out of it was financed by public sector banks and IDBI bank.

He also sought to know about various audits the CDR system had undergone during financial year, final CDR packages approved between April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2014.         Gandhi also asked the total “sacrifice amount” of all public sector banks as reported in the final CDR package approved by CDR system and related information. To his surprise, the CDR cell which is constituted by RBI, a public authority under the RTI Act and is dominated by public servants, refused to provide any information saying the RTI Act does not apply on it.

Gandhi had pointed it out to senior officials of CDR cell that it is their statutory obligation to respond to RTI queries as five out its seven core members are public servants drawing their salaries from the government, which makes it a public authority.

“CDR is neither owned, controlled or substantially financed directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate government. Hence, CDR cell is not a public authority as defined under Section 2(1)(h) of the RTI Act,” the CDR cell said.

When contacted Gandhi, who is known for delivering number of landmark decisions at the Central Information Commission, said,  “The CDR cell has no legal status but has ‘restructured’ corporate debt of Rs 3,70,000 crores for 505 borrowers! Since the average is Rs 638 crores, it is obvious that most of these are big corporates,” he alleged.

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