Himachal High Court stayed disclosure of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's Shimla land deal

Priyanka Gandhi, Robert Vadra, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Mrs Vadra, Sonia Gandhi, Himachal Pradesh High Court, RTI activist Dev Asis Bhattacharya, Information Commission
Shimla : The Himachal Pradesh High Court bench hearing the petition filed by RTI activist Dev Asis Bhattacharya stayed the disclosure of details of land purchases made by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, daughter of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. The court declared August 7 as the next date of hearing.

Late last month, the top officers of the Information Commission had ruled that the details of Mrs Vadra's land transactions must be revealed within 10 days. Information on Mrs Vadra's real estate purchases in Himachal Pradesh - she reportedly has bought two pieces of land - was sought last year by Debashish Bhattacharya, a Right to Information (RTI) activist.

Information Commission officials had at the time said the details should be shared; the officer handling the RTI application was faulted by his bosses last month for not complying.

Earlier this year, Mrs Vadra, 43, wrote to the state government through her lawyers, claiming that the details should be kept confidential for security reasons. Mrs Vadra, whose father and grandmother Rajiv and Indira were Prime Minister and assassinated, is guarded by the Special Protection Group or SPG.

Bhattacharya argued that such information about the property of any person cannot be withheld and even the Prime Minister and other VVIPs declare details of their immovable properties while filing the nominations.

Earlier, the state information commission had agreed to Bhattacharya’s RTI plea and had ordered the First Appellate Authority (FAA) to release the information relating to the land deal of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra near Shimla.

However, the FAA denied the information to Bhattacharya on grounds that Priyanka was a protectee under Special Protection Group (SPG)Act. Under the act proximate security shall be provided to the immediate family members of current and former Prime Ministers.

BJP has said that Mrs Vadra's husband, Robert, will be investigated for illicit land deals in Haryana where his mother-in-law's party was in power till late last year, when it lost the election.

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