India's Sonia Gandhi refuses tax disclosure

Sonia Gandhi
Image caption Sonia Gandhi said the disclosure of her tax details would be "invasion of privacy"

India's Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi has refused to furnish details of her income tax, citing "security" concerns, officials say.

An activist, V Gopalkrishnan, had requested the information under freedom of information legislation.

But in her reply, Mrs Gandhi said releasing the information might cause a "financial and security risk".

Mr Gopalkrishnan denied charges of any political affiliation and said he will continue his efforts.

In his query filed to the tax department last December, Mr Gopalkrishnan had sought details of Mrs Gandhi's income tax for the last 10 years, beginning in 2000.

This was done under the country's Right to Information legislation.

But his request was turned down.

He appealed and the income tax department was asked to send a notice to Mrs Gandhi requesting the information.

In her reply to the department, Mrs Gandhi said the disclosure of "such private information to third parties… in guise of transparency in public life would amount to unwarranted invasion of the individual's privacy".

She continued: "There is no case of bona fide public interest involved to disclose such information to third parties."

The tax department said the information sought had "no overriding public interest" and closed the request.

V Gopalkrishnan has the right to appeal.

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