Whistleblowers India


Protect whistleblowers

Posted by ekavi on June 18, 2006

Protect whistleblowers
There is need for legislation to protect those who expose misdeeds.


Yet another person has paid with his life for speaking up against corruption. Manjunath Shanmugam, a young manager with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and an IIM graduate, was shot dead on November 19 for drawing attention to irregularities in the quality of fuel being marketed in some petrol pumps. Manjunath had ordered the closure of an IOC petrol pump in Lakhimpur Kheri in UP for selling adulterated fuel. Samples of fuel from the pump indicated adulteration. It appears that the owners of the petrol pump decided to act before more of their illegal activities were exposed. They had him shot dead. Manjunath is said to have ordered the shut down of two other IOC dealer’s petrol pumps in Lakhimpur for adulteration of fuel. The IOC has demanded security for its employees. It appears that employees of fuel marketing companies in the country are having to battle a fuel adulteration mafia that presides over a multi-crore business. Those who simply do their duty and speak up against adulteration are living in terror. Some like Manjunath are silenced forever.

The issues that Manjunath’s murder raises are not confined to IOC employees alone. There are thousands of honest people in this country who draw attention to financial and other irregularities in the system and end up paying dearly for this. In December 2003, Satyendra Dubey, an engineer in Bihar, drew the attention of the Prime Minister’s Office to corruption in the Golden Quadrilateral Project. His name was leaked by someone in the official establishment and he was killed.

Public outrage generated by Dubey’s killing triggered demands for legislation to protect whistleblowers. At that time the Supreme Court even got the NDA government to commit to such legislation. But little has moved on the matter since then. A couple of months ago the government said it was preparing a draft bill on the issue. Two years after the death of Dubey, whistleblowers still have no protection in this country. Manjunath’s death could have been prevented had the government acted swiftly and enacted legislation. It did not. This is not an issue on which the government should be procrastinating. People with dreams of cleaning up a corrupt system are getting killed. The least the government can do is protect their identities.


One Response to “Protect whistleblowers”

  1. vijay said

    At this rate, no individual would come forward and the present Govt. loose people support for good governance. Corruption, appears to be every where as the item proved so.

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