Report of the Fact-finding Team
Situation of Sushant Naik who was arrested for his alleged attempt to stab a Govt. employee in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Secretariat, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
Being perturbed over the news carried by Mass Media on 5.7.15 about a young boy Sushant Naik , aged around 23 years taking unsuccessful attempt to stab a lady employee in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Secretariat, Bhubaneswar and subsequent his arrest and jail by the police , a Fact-finding Team of Right to Food Campaign, Odisha had visited his village to know from his family members about the socio-economic condition of the family, reason of his visit to Secretariat with knife and his attempt to stab an employee etc. It needs to be mentioned here that though the Team members tried to meet him in Jharpada jail several times, they could not succeed to talk to him. The major objective of the visit of the Team was also to understand the problem of the family, provide the family legal support to make him released from jail and other support required to provide justice to them. The Team members were Sri Pradip Pradhan, Team Leader, Sri Sachikant Pradhan, Sri Sudhir Mohanty, advocate and Sri Rohan Mohanty, RTI Activist.
Details of the visit
Badanadab Village, around 25 kms from Dhenkanal district head quarter comes under administrative jurisdiction of Govind Prasad Gram Panchayat of Dhenkanal sadar Block. This is a very small habitation of Scheduled caste community. On 12.7.15, the Team visited the village at and located the home of Sushant Naik and found his house half-constructed and locked. However, a man of around 50 years old came out introducing him as uncle of Sushant Sri Santosh Naik received the team members ad carried them to his house. On query about whereabouts of family members of Sushant, he narrated the untold story of the family. He said that five years back ( 2010), Ganeshwar Naik, father of Sushant Naik who was working as Chowkidar in Angul PHED Pump House expired on 25.4.10 after prolonged illness. He was surviving by his wife and five children (three daughters and two sons). Two of his daughters have already got married. After death of Ganeswar, the elder son left home for Tamil Nadu in search of livelihood and still bachelor. He hardly comes to house. Sushant is the second ad only son staying with mother and lone unmarried sister Rita Naik who is + 2 students studying in Debendra Satapathy Memorial College.
According to the villagers who gathered to interact with the Team, Sushant is generally good boy and very shy in nature. The untimely death of his father has psychologically shocked him a lot. With the money received from Govt. , he started constructing a pucca house and left it half-constructed for the reasons best known to him. Then, he concentrated to get a job under Govt. Rehabilitation Scheme. His mother Bhasa Naik was receiving pension of Rs. 7,500 per month. Sushant was drawing all the money without giving a single pie to his mother. It was learnt that his mother and lone daughter were surviving with 25 kg BPL rice and Rs. 300.00 pension under Widow Pension Scheme. As reported by his uncle, Sushant used to go frequently to Angul PHED office and other offices in his pursuit to get a Govt. job. He was also being guided and advised by a Union leader Sri Tanalu Gadanayak of Angul. He has spent huge money to get the job in Govt. While inspecting all the documents and files available in his house, it was found that there is a lot of correspondence made between Dept of Housing and Urban Development, Chief Engineer, PHED, Bhubaneswar and Office of Assistant Engineer, Angul etc. with regard to processing of his application. A letter written by Deputy Secretary, Housing and Urban Development to Chief Engineer, PHED, Odisha requiring some documents like Income certificate, no-demand certificate etc. of Sushant. It proves that Sushant was making all correspondence and liaising with Govt. to get the job. The Team members also came to know that he had sold 1.5 acres of paternal property without knowledge of his mother two years ago. His mother got psychologically disturbed and mentally harassed by the act of his son, his erratic movement, taking all pension money, selling paternal property. She along with her own daughter could not take two square meal per day due to financial crisis. Though his mother has expressed her reaction and unhappiness over sale of property several times, he has not reacted anything and remained silence. By the time his mother got mad that the Team members noticed during their visit. On query about utilisation of the whole pension money and amount received from sale of land, the family members said that he had spent huge money by giving bribe to the officials and for his frequent visit to different officers for paper work to get the job. On query about any idea of recipient of the money as bribe-taker, they said that Sushant himself could tell it. After sale of land, he along with his mother stayed in Angul taking a house rent for few months. It may be as his mother’s signature is required for paper work; he stayed in Angul to finish this work. However, on 16.3.15, he carried his mother to the Bank at Dhenkanal and withdrew Rs. 50,000.00 from Mother’s pension passbook and left her in his house and went to Bhubaneswar. Since this time, he had never returned back to the village. He had also not made any mobile call to anyone of the family members. On5.7.15, the family members came to know about him when the news in print and electronic media covered about his arrest in Bhubaneswar.
Observation of the Team
A. Sushant Naik is no doubt very simple and normal boy. He has no track record of any criminal activity in his village. He has just passed 9th Class. After demise of his father, he might have been given idea by the colleagues of his father and Union leader Sri Gadanayak that he could get a job under Rehabilitation assistance Scheme. That assurance has forced him to pursue to get the job in Govt. In his endeavour to get job, he has taken all attempts by spending huge money including giving bribe to the officials at different level to get the job which is very normal in Govt. sector. The Team is also in their mission to find out the truth about the people who have taken money from him and his persuasion and frequent visit and meeting with different officials.
B. He might be assured truely or falsely that he would definitely get the job under Rehabilitation assistance Scheme. He has tried his level best to get the job. That’s why, he has gone to the extent of selling his parental property to get the money which is required to be utilised to get the job. When he failed to get the job, he got frustrated and hopeless and decided to take extreme step i.e., stabbing someone responsible for it. The details of his harassment or cheating by someone, frustration can come to public unless he is interviewed and came out of the jail.
Follow up Action
A. From this case, the Team members feel that this is a test case of harassment and frustration of a young boy who was pursuing to get a job under Rehabilitation assistance Scheme. He is the victim of a corrupt and lethargic system. Thousands of young people in Odisha and wife of deceased Govt. employees are running from pillar to post to get the job under the said scheme. They are forced not only to give bribe but also compelled to go for humiliating persuasion to get a Govt. job. As because there is no transparency in the procedure and accountability fixed for it, the applicants wait for years together to get the job. If anybody succeeds to influence minister or top bureaucrats, getting job may be easier for him. Mal-administration and corruption Govt. machinery force the people to give bribe and frequently visit the different offices to attend the query and obtain certificates putting a lot of harassment physically and mentally.
B. The Team will pursue this case to give justice to Sushant and his family and carry forward fight to bring transparency in the procedure for appointment in Govt. job under Rehabilitation Assistance Scheme. The Team will take steps to enforce a clear cut time limit to be fixed for processing the application and ensuring job to the applicant in a time bound manner.
C. Sushant’s ominous silence in Jharpada jail could not allow us to proceed further. After long persuasion, the family members Sri Santosh Naik, uncle of Sushant and his brother-in-law had come to the jail on 14.7.15 to meet Sushant and to collect information from him about the incident took place in secretariat on 4.7.15, details of money given to officials for job etc. During their meeting with Sushant, they could not extract any information from him due to his silence and refusal to speak anything.
D. Series of RTI Applications have been filed to different offices including Department of Housing and Urban Development, Govt. of Odisha and Chief Engineer, PHED to get the status of the application of Sushant.
E. The Team has already taken steps to make him released from jail by engaging advocates without giving any cost to Sushant.
Pradip Pradhan Sudhir Mohanty Rohan Mohanty Sachikant Pradhan
M. 9937843482 Advocate, High Court RTI Activist, Cuttack M. 9439487471