MONEYLIFE DIGITAL TEAM | 14/05/2015 07:09 PM |PM Modi was seen as receiving Rs100 crore from Army as donation towards PM’s Relief Fund. However, a reply received from Army HQ under RTI says no such money was donated
15 January 2015: Prime Minister Narendra Modi (was seen in a photo published by Press Information Bureau -PIB) received a cheque of Rs100 crore from Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Army Chief General Dalbir Singh towards Prime Minister’s Relief Fund on the 67th Army Day. Interestingly, the photograph when enlarged by us shows that it was a mock cheque handed over by the Army Chief. It has no amount mentioned. Instead, it says, “One day’s pay of all ranks of Indian Army”.
So what happened to the donation? Was the money donated? Was it collected from Army officers and soldiers and handed over to the PM Relief Fund?
20 March 2015: A reply received Right to Information (RTI) Act says the Army has yet to donate Rs100 crore toward the PM Relief Fund!
According to a PIB release on 15 January 2015, the Indian Army donated Rs100 crore and the amount was raised by officers and soldiers donating a day’s salary each. The cheque of Rs100 crore was handed over to PM Modi by General Dalbir Singh at the traditional ‘At Home’ at Army House on the 67th Army Day.
Dehradun-based Prabhu Dandriyal filed an RTI seeking details about the Rs100 crore donation given by the Army to PM Relief Fund. On 20 March 2015, he received a reply from the RTI Cell of the Army.
The reply sent by Lt Col Rajiv Guleria for Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of Indian Army says, “It has been intimated by concerned agency that no amount on account of contributions from salary of any Army personnel has yet been donated to the Prime Minister Relief Fund. The matter is under consideration.”
Therefore, the question remains as to whether the PM Relief Fund received Rs100 crore donation by Army or no. There could be three possible scenarios. One, the donation was given, but someone may have forgotten to collect/deposit the actual cheque. Second, the PIO from Army not have received correct information and hence gave incorrect information. Three, the PIO may have given wrong or misleading information.
According to Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner and RTI activist, it is impossible for the PIO to provide misleading or wrong information. “However, the PIO may not have realised the impact of this information,” he said.