The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Reserve Bank of India to disclose an advisory note it issued to ICICI Bank for alleged violation of any RBI guidelines or for contravention of the provisions of money laundering and foreign exchange acts. The case relates to an RTI application filed by SS Vohra, who had sought to know details of such advisory notes issued by the apex bank to Patna and Hong Kong branches of ICICI Bank.

ICICI Bank has objected the disclosure of the information citing three exemption clauses of the RTI Act section 8(1) (a), (d) and (e).

These section exempt disclosure of information which can — prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the state, relation with foreign state or lead to incitement of an offence, is related to trade secrets and commercial confidence and is held in fiduciary capacity.

During the hearing, Vohra said the Finance Minister had made a written statement in Parliament that Patna branch of ICICI Bank Limited had opened some fictitious accounts for alleged fraudsters for which an advisory note was issued to it in December 2007.

Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra said there was “no merit in the contention that the advisory note issued by the RBI to the Bank in the present case will, by any stretch of imagination, fall under exemption clauses” cited by the bank.

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