RTI activist refused information on Kasab

Last Updated: Fri, Jan 18, 2013 07:57 hrs

Mumbai: Disclosing any information on Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab, who was hanged Nov 21 in a Pune jail, could affect India's sovereignty and strategic interests, the Maharashtra government has told a Right to Information (RTI) activist.

Leading RTI activist Anil Gangali was informed that disclosure of any information on Kasab, including his mercy petition to the president and autopsy report, "could adversely affect the country's sovereignty and integrity, security, strategic, scientific or economic interests".

"This is quite strange, as Kasab is now dead. But the government is not providing any relevant information citing RTI Act, 2005, Sec 8(A)(G)(H)," Galgali told IANS.

Galgali said that this (section) pertains to exemption from disclosing any information on ground that it could affect the country's interests, relations with foreign states, lead to incitement of offence, or could endanger the life and safety of any person or compromise the sources of law enforcers, or hamper the investigation or prosecution of the offenders.

"Now that Kasab has been hanged and buried, how are all these things relevant. Is the government trying to 'hide' something by using this section to withhold information," Galgali said.

He suggested that if the government indeed does not want to make any information pertaining to Kasab public for whatever reasons, then it should bring out an official notification to the effect.

Galgali's RTI query revealed that the central and state governments spent Rs.28.46 crore to provide security, food, medicine and clothes to Kasab during his four-year stay in Mumbai's high-security Arthur Road Central Jail, and briefly before his hanging at Yerawada Central Jail, Pune.

Of this amount, the Maharashtra governemnt spent Rs.6.76 crore -- Rs.5.25 towards creating the security infrastructure, Rs.1.50 crore for his personal security, and the rest for his lodging, boarding, medication, clothes. For his last rites, the government spent Rs.9,573.

The rest of the expenses (from the total Rs.28.46 crore) were borne by the central government.

Kasab was among 10 gunmen who created mayhem in south Mumbai during the 26/11 terror attacks, killing 166 and injuring over 300 others.

He was caught alive, tried and finally hanged for his crimes Nov 21, 2012.

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