The CPI-M has criticised the Finance Ministry's alleged restriction on the entry of journalists into its premises, saying the government has a "lot to hide".
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's office earlier clarified that there is "no ban" on the entry of media people in the ministry and that just a procedure has been brought in for "streamlining and facilitating" their entry.
As precedence, the North Block, the seat of Finance Ministry, remains out of bounds for journalists during a pre-budget quarantine period of about two months.
"When you lie and fudge data, you have a lot to hide. In an era where transparency should be the norm, this government wants to deny due access to journalists. No surprise as it has worked actively to destroy the Right to Information at each step," CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury said.
Amid concerns among reporters and social media backlash, Ms Sitharaman's office on Tuesday tweeted a statement clarifying her ministry's position on reports "alleging that media persons have been banned from entering the Ministry of Finance".
Clarification on media reports alleging that media persons have been banned from entering the Ministry of Finance, North Block. pic.twitter.com/T2muJ6NV0J— NSitharamanOffice (@nsitharamanoffc) July 9, 2019
"Entry of media persons, including those holding PIB Accredited card, will be on the basis of prior appointment. No other restrictions have been imposed on their entry inside MOF. North Block. The media persons can seek an appointment with the officer/s to meet them. Media persons holding a PIB card will not require a separate entry pass after the appointment is fixed," the clarification said.