गुरुवार, 16 नवंबर 2017

Saga of Struggle of an RTI Activist against Corruption in Odisha

Saga of Struggle of an RTI Activist against Corruption in Odisha
( His fight against corruption has exposed failure of Grievance Redressal Mechanism in the state )

Dear friends
Rumours consciously designed   and spread by few miscreants that RTI Activists are misusing RTI and using it to blackmail others in the name of seeking information.   This is a false allegation to demoralise  RTI Activist and negate their outstanding work in public domain. We have countered it and dared them to file complaint against those involved in blackmailing to appropriate authority.  As per findings of a National Study on RTI  popularly known  as RaAG  Study,   less than one percent of people are filling vexatious RTI Application which can be termed  misuse of RTI.  Under RTI Act, there is scope  for anybody to blackmail others.

On the other hand, it is seen that many RTI Activists   are using RTI to expose corruption at different level and fighting it out at cost of their live and helped common people to get their entitlements denied by Govt. officials. Many RTI Activists have been murdered, humiliated, mercilessly beaten up and put behind bar because of their fight against corruption.

I cite here an example  about struggle of an RTI Activist Sri Akbar Saha  of Balasore, his fight against corruption in Basta Block  and  his endless suffering, humiliation and mental torture.  Sequence of events centring around his struggle is as follows.

15.8. 2016
 He filed RTI Application to the PIO, office of BDO, Basta Block of Balasore district seeking information about details of beneficiaries of  Biju Pucca Yojana of Raghunath Pur Gram Panchayat. Huge corruption and irregularities is noticed  in the distribution of houses  under Biju Pucca  Gruha Yojana.
 Finding denial of information, he filed first appeal to First Appellate Authority-cum-BDO to  get the information.
 He received a call  from  Sri Gobind Sethy, Sub-Divisional Police Officer   who threatened him “ why is he filling RTI  against Govt. officials”
He  filed  complaint to DG Police  against SDPO and local police  for harassing him.
 Acting on his  complaint, DG, Police wrote a letter to SP,  Balasore  to enquire into complaint and take appropriate legal action against them.
Though late, BDO, Basta block supplied  information   list of beneficiaries under Biju Pucca Yojana. Verifying the documents, it was found that many ineligible persons have taken houses by preparing false documents in connivance with Block officials.
 He filed complaint to Collector, Balasore to enquire into matter and take action against the culprits. It was registered as dairy No. 10014/26.12.16. The Collector immediately ordered to BDO to enquire into allegation.
A false enquiry report was prepared by Assistant Executive Engineer and presented to BDO, Basta which was shared to  Complainant .
 He filed petition to Chief Minister Grievance Cell
 Akbar met to Collector appraising him how  a false enquiry report has been prepared by BDO  while presenting details of factual information about beneficiaries.
31.3. 17
Chief Minister Office  directed to Collector, Balasore  to enquire into the matter.
On receipt of complaint, Collector, Balasore transferred the same to  BDO, Basta for  enquiry.  Nothing happened.
Chief Secretary transferred his grievance  petition to Dept. of Panchayat Raj  which again transferred to  BDO and Project Director, DRDA for enquiry.  Nothing happened
The  Block officials with police   hatched  a ploy  against Akbar   to arrest him. They  filed a false FIR in Singla police station to arrest him. Bimal Kumar Nayak, Inspector-in-Charge   masterminded  the false FIR.  He was charged with false  case of misbehaving a woman.
 Being harassed by officials, and local police time and again, Akbar filed  a complaint case in the court of SDJM . The court issued order to Singla police to register  case and enquire into the matter.  But the IIC, Singla police  station  registered the case on 22.9.17.
 The Inspector-in-Charge , Singla Police station  called him to police station.   When he reached, Dharmanand Behera, BDO  and  Gobind sethy, SDPO reached  in police station and asked him  to withdraw allegation of corruption on Biju Pucca Gruha Yojana.  Akbar refused  to withdraw the case.  Then, the case was registered  and  Akbar was forwarded to jail.
 After spending two months in jail, he got released on  bail.

Akbar is still fighting against corruption and running from pillar to post to get justice. Though he approached several office starting from Chief Minsiter office to Block office, nothing happened. This is state of affairs of  Odisha administration. This is glaring example of failure of  administrative system of the state to deliver justice to common people.

Akbar Saha can be contacted  in his mobile  for more information. M- 9439550806

Pradip Pradhan

Date- 16.11.17 

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