The process of conferring the country's highest civilian honour Bharat Ratna on batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar was initiated on the first day of his farewell 200th cricket Test on November 14, 2013 and the announcement made two days later, according to an RTI reply.
A message was sent to the Sports Ministry by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) signed by Director Rajeev Topno for sending a bio-data of Tendulkar in a faxed format at 1.35 pm on November 14, 2013, according to a document provided by the PMO to sports enthusiast Hemant Dube in response to a Right to Information (RTI) query.
Acting on it, the Sports Ministry sent the desired bio-data in the requested format to the PMO at 5.22 pm. The bio-data was sent by SPS Tomar, Under Secretary, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, with the approval of the Secretary, Sports.
Tendulkar was playing his historic 200th Test match that began on November 14 at his home ground in Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Rahul Gandhi watched the match the next day.
On November 15, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, after completing the necessary formalities, had sent the proposal regarding Bharat Ratna to Tendulkar to President Pranab Mukherjee for his approval, the RTI document said.
A day later, the decision to confer Tendulkar with the Bharat Ratna was announced, Dube said quoting the document.
The Prime Minister had informed Tendulkar about the decision on November 17, through a letter, he said. Dube, who is a cancer patient, sought the information through RTI on November 27 last year.
He was provided with the relevant documents running into 14 pages under the RTI Act by the PMO through a letter, dated January 17 and signed by Deputy Secretary and Central Public Information Officer Sayyed Irkam Rizwi.
Citing the provisions of the RTI Act, the concerned official in the PMO said in his reply, "The communication between the Prime Minister and the President is a privileged communication under the provision of Article 74(2)of the Constitution of India and is not to be disclosed. "However, a copy of the relevant file noting and correspondence pertaining to the award of Bharat Ratna to Tendulkar excluding privileged communication running into 14 pages can be provided."
Dube has been rooting for the Bharat Ratna to be conferred on hockey wizard Dhyan Chand.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar