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Archive for July, 2006

Power of RTI – Special Audit of Jalgaon Municipal Corporation (JMC)

Posted by ekavi on July 18, 2006

Power of RTI – Special Audit of Jalgaon Municipal Corporation (JMC)

 

http://right2information.wordpress.com/2006/07/18/power-of-rti-special-audit-of-jalgaon-municipal-corporation-jmc/

Due to several ongoing protests, PILs in court & finally the below RTI app (final nail in the coffin !), govt. has agreed to conduct a special audit of the JMC for the Gharkul scam. You may recall that this scam was blown by whistleblower, Shri Praveen Gedam (IAS officer) who registered an FIR against more than 90 corporators who are accused in this scam. Not surprisingly, he was transferred within 9 months from the post of Commissioner, JMC and posted as CEO, ZP, Latur.

The reply to this RTI app dated 11th July, 2006 is awaited, but action has been taken !

Kudos to RTI !

Relevant extract of RTI :

(iii) Description of information required :

Certified copies of information required, as stated below, including file notings, if any.

1) Whether the government has received any letter from the Municipal Commissioner, Jalgaon, requesting it to conduct “special audit” of JMC, as per the BLFA Act and section 108 of the BPMC Act?

2) If yes, what action has been taken by the government with respect to the above mentioned letter?

3) With respect to the above, kindly furnish copies of the file notings alongwith the dates, and the names and designations of the persons who have made these notings.

4) With whom (name and designation) is the file pending right now and since when?

5) If the file has been pending with any authority for more than seven days, what disciplinary action has been taken against them according to the government circular No Sankirna/1005/34/Pra. Kra. 38/2005/18 (Ra & Ka), Dated 17-04-2005

6) Kindly furnish the copies of audit paras from the audit report of JMC conducted by the AG, Mumbai between November, 2005 and January, 2006.

Rajesh Darak

Mera Bharat Mahaan…Nahi Hai,
Per Yeh Dosh Mera Hai

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Posted in Uncategorized, WB Praveen Gedam | 1 Comment »

[INDIA_WBA] REVELATIONS from Dir. of Vigilance, Customs & Central Excise, Delhi

Posted by ekavi on July 13, 2006

Friends,

Some of us had filed RTI applications on 5/4/2006 and we received the replies on 6/5/2006. Please find attached herewith scanned copies of the same.

The CVC norms have been thrown in the winds. Most of the officers are continuing in violation of the guidelines for sensitive postings, beyondt he stipulated three year period. Perhaps this explains why the Vigilance Dept. has become a hotbed of corruption.

Please note that the Directorate General of Vigilance, Customs & Central Excise has furnished part information only. They have avoided straight answers for two of the very pertinent questions, viz.

 

a)     Has there been a violation of the circular stated in 3 (i) above in case of such officers?

 

b)     In case there has been a violation of the said circular, the names and designations of the persons responsible and punishable for the same.

To know the answers please read thru’ the attached reply.

Do give your comments if any. Media should highlight this state of affairs.

RD

Rajesh Darak

Mera Bharat Mahaan…Nahi Hai,
Per Yeh Dosh Mera Hai.

Posted in Whsitleblowers INDIA, Mumbai | 11 Comments »

WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE….IF WE CARE! Can you please send similar letters as below

Posted by ekavi on July 13, 2006

Can you please send similar letters as below (you may simply change the letterhead, name and address and remove the line ‘Reference:……….’) to all the authorities mentioned therein? Only a mass support can create an impact. You just need to make sundry changes and click the mouse!

WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE….IF WE CARE!

Scanned copy of hand delivered letters attached herewith for your reference.

I EXHORT ALL TO SUPPORT THIS CAUSE AND MARK ME A BCC. IF POSSIBLE SEND HARD COPIES BY REGD./SPEED POST OR COURIER. ALL SUCH COMMUNICATIONS CAN COME HANDY IF NO ACTION IS INITIATED.

WHENEVER I SEND A BCC / FORWARD AN EMAIL OR LETTER TO YOU PLEASE ASSUME IT IS FOR FURTHER ACTION ON YOUR SIDE AND I EXPECT YOU TO SEND SIMILAR COMMUNICATIONS. NO PENALTIES FOR NOT SENDING! 

RD

attached : as above

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: rajesh darak <darak786@gmail.com>
Date: May 15, 2006 4:42 PM
Subject: Jalgaon Municipal Corporation – No Investigation, No Arrests, Impugned Order, Airport Scam, Mala fide Transfer, etc.
To: CG_President_Abdul_Kalam < presidentofindia@rb.nic.in>, CG_CPP_Sonia_Gandhi <soniagandhi@sansad.nic.in>, CG_CPP_Sonia_Gandhi <10janpath@vsnl.net>, CG_PM_Manmohan_Singh < manmohan@sansad.nic.in>, CG_PM_Manmohan_Singh <pmosb@pmo.nic.in>, SG_MAH_GOV <gsecmah@vsnl.net >, SG_MAH_GOV <rajbhavan@maharashtra.gov.in>, SG_MAH_CM <chiefminister@maharashtra.gov.in>, SG_MAH_DyCM < DeputyChiefMinister@maharashtra.gov.in>, SG_MAH_CS <chiefsecretary@maharashtra.gov.in>, SG_MAH_CS < DKSANKARAN@maharashtra.gov.in>, SG_MAH_UDD_PrSecy1 <sec_ud1@maharashtra.gov.in>, SG_MAH_UDD_PrSecy1 < RamanandTiwari@maharashtra.gov.in>, SG_MAH_UDD_PrSecy2 <sec_ud2@maharashtra.gov.in>, SG_MAH_UDD_PrSecy2 <NBPatil@maharashtra.gov.in >

WHISTLEBLOWERS INDIA

 

(An action group for whistleblowers in India )

___________________________________________________________________________

15th May 2006

The President of India,

Rashtrapati Bhawan,

New Delhi

 

Ms. Sonia Gandhi, Congress Party President,

10, Janpath,

New Delhi – 110 001

 

Dr. Manmohan Singh,

Prime Minister,

New Delhi

 

Mr. S.M. Krishna, Governor, Maharashtra ,

Raj Bhawan, Malabar Hill,

Mumbai – 400 035

Mr. Vilasrao Deshmukh, Chief Minister, Maharashtra ,

Mantralaya,

Mumbai – 400 032

Mr. R.R.Patil, Deputy Chief Minister, Maharashtra ,
Mantralaya,

Mumbai – 400 032

Mr. D.K. Sankaran, Chief Secretary, Maharashtra ,
Mantralaya,

Mumbai – 400 032

Secretary, Urban Development Department, Maharashtra State,
Mantralaya,

Mumbai – 400 032

Respected Sirs / Madam,
Subject:

1)       FIR registered against 90 former and serving corporators based on complaint filed by a whistleblower, Jalgaon Municipal Commissioner, Shri Praveen Gedam – Apprehension of miscarriage of justice; appeal for personal intervention.

2)       Malafide transfer of Shri Praveen Gedam.

Reference: Our earlier letter dated 16/2/2006 on subject no.1.

Apprehension of miscarriage of justice has come true. It is evident from the following facts:

1)       Delay of one week in registration of the FIR for the Gharkul scam.

2)       None of the accused have been arrested so far, even though anticipatory bail applications of some of them have been rejected.

3)       The accused had sent defamation notices to Shri Praveen Gedam.

4)       Charge sheet has not been filed. Investigation is at a virtual standstill. A PIL has been filed in the Aurangabad bench of the Mumbai High Court, praying for a CBI inquiry.

5)       Shri Praveen Gedam has used his statutory powers and issued disqualification notices to the accused corporators.

6)       On the very next day, the Urban Development Department (UDD) which is under the Chief Minister (CM), issued a mala fide order which not only stayed these notices but also barred Shri Praveen Gedam from taking action in other cases of corruption. A PIL has been filed in the Aurangabad bench of the Mumbai High Court, challenging the impugned order.

7)       Jalgaon police has not registered FIR in another corruption case relating to airport project. A PIL has been filed in the Aurangabad bench of the Mumbai High Court, challenging the refusal of police to register FIR for the Airport scam.

8)       Shri Praveen Gedam, who took charge in October, 2005, has been mala fidely transferred by UDD / CM within 8 months by calling it a routine transfer.

   

Kindly ensure the following immediately:  

1)      Handing over of the investigation of the Gharkul scam to the CBI.

2)      Registration of FIR for the Airport scam & handing over to the CBI.

3)      Reinstatement of Shri Praveen Gedam and withdrawal of the impugned order restraining him from using his statutory powers.  

 

Yours truly,

 

 

——————————-

Rajesh Darak, (Secretary)

__________________________________________________________________________________

Address for Correspondence :

8, Varsha, North South Road No. 5, Vile Parle (W), Mumbai – 400 056.

Tel. : +91- (0)22 – 2614 0519   /  2614 0957


P.S. Hardcopies hand-delivered to CM, DyCM, CS & Secy (UDD) and sent by speed post to Prez, Sonia, PM & Gov.

Rajesh Darak

Mera Bharat Mahaan…Nahi Hai,
Per Yeh Dosh Mera Hai.


Rajesh Darak

Mera Bharat Mahaan…Nahi Hai,
Per Yeh Dosh Mera Hai.

Posted in Whsitleblowers INDIA, Mumbai | 1 Comment »

Jalgaon Municipal Corporation – No Investigation, No Arrests, Impugned Order, Airport Scam, Mala fide Transfer, etc.

Posted by ekavi on July 13, 2006

WHISTLEBLOWERS INDIA

 

(An action group for whistleblowers in India )

___________________________________________________________________________

15th May 2006

The President of India,

Rashtrapati Bhawan,

New Delhi

 

Ms. Sonia Gandhi, Congress Party President,

10, Janpath,

New Delhi – 110 001

 

Dr. Manmohan Singh,

Prime Minister,

New Delhi

 

Mr. S.M. Krishna, Governor, Maharashtra ,

Raj Bhawan, Malabar Hill,

Mumbai – 400 035

Mr. Vilasrao Deshmukh, Chief Minister, Maharashtra ,

Mantralaya,

Mumbai – 400 032

Mr. R.R.Patil, Deputy Chief Minister, Maharashtra ,
Mantralaya,

Mumbai – 400 032

Mr. D.K. Sankaran, Chief Secretary, Maharashtra ,
Mantralaya,

Mumbai – 400 032

Secretary, Urban Development Department, Maharashtra State,
Mantralaya,

Mumbai – 400 032

Respected Sirs / Madam,
Subject:

1)       FIR registered against 90 former and serving corporators based on complaint filed by a whistleblower, Jalgaon Municipal Commissioner, Shri Praveen Gedam – Apprehension of miscarriage of justice; appeal for personal intervention.

2)       Malafide transfer of Shri Praveen Gedam.

Reference: Our earlier letter dated 16/2/2006 on subject no.1.

Apprehension of miscarriage of justice has come true. It is evident from the following facts:

1)       Delay of one week in registration of the FIR for the Gharkul scam.

2)       None of the accused have been arrested so far, even though anticipatory bail applications of some of them have been rejected.

3)       The accused had sent defamation notices to Shri Praveen Gedam.

4)       Charge sheet has not been filed. Investigation is at a virtual standstill. A PIL has been filed in the Aurangabad bench of the Mumbai High Court, praying for a CBI inquiry.

5)       Shri Praveen Gedam has used his statutory powers and issued disqualification notices to the accused corporators.

6)       On the very next day, the Urban Development Department (UDD) which is under the Chief Minister (CM), issued a mala fide order which not only stayed these notices but also barred Shri Praveen Gedam from taking action in other cases of corruption. A PIL has been filed in the Aurangabad bench of the Mumbai High Court, challenging the impugned order.

7)       Jalgaon police has not registered FIR in another corruption case relating to airport project. A PIL has been filed in the Aurangabad bench of the Mumbai High Court, challenging the refusal of police to register FIR for the Airport scam.

8)       Shri Praveen Gedam, who took charge in October, 2005, has been mala fidely transferred by UDD / CM within 8 months by calling it a routine transfer.

   

Kindly ensure the following immediately:  

1)      Handing over of the investigation of the Gharkul scam to the CBI.

2)      Registration of FIR for the Airport scam & handing over to the CBI.

3)      Reinstatement of Shri Praveen Gedam and withdrawal of the impugned order restraining him from using his statutory powers.  

 

Yours truly,

 

 

——————————-

Rajesh Darak, (Secretary)

__________________________________________________________________________________

Address for Correspondence :

8, Varsha, North South Road No. 5, Vile Parle (W), Mumbai – 400 056.

Tel. : +91- (0)22 – 2614 0519   /  2614 0957


P.S. Hardcopies hand-delivered to CM, DyCM, CS & Secy (UDD) and sent by speed post to Prez, Sonia, PM & Gov.

Rajesh Darak

Mera Bharat Mahaan…Nahi Hai,
Per Yeh Dosh Mera Hai.

Posted in Whsitleblowers INDIA, Mumbai | 3 Comments »

Whistleblower_S_B_Pujari_MPSC_Scam

Posted by ekavi on July 13, 2006

Please send similar emails as below. Can I expect that each of you shall communicate with the CM and Dy.CM? Let us unite for every whistleblowing cause and keep acting till logical conclusions are achieved.

Thanks & Regards,

RD

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: rajesh darak <darak786@gmail.com>
Date: Feb 28, 2006 9:18 AM
Subject: Whistleblower_S_B_Pujari_MPSC_Scam
To: SG_MAH_CM <chiefminister@maharashtra.gov.in>
Cc: SG_MAH_DyCM < DeputyChiefMinister@maharashtra.gov.in>

Dear CM Sir,

Please refer to the below news appearing in yesterday’s TOI. We support the Dy.CM’s stance and request you to ensure that the probe relating to Lohar brothers’ recruitment is conducted by Shri S B Pujari who is doing an excellent job in investigating the MPSC scam and not Vishnu Shinde. We hope you shall act in the best interest of justice.

Rajesh Darak

8, Varsha, North South Road No.5, Vile Parle (W), Mumbai 400 056. Tel.No.28353498 (O), 26140957 (R)

copy to : Dy.CM, Shri R.R.Patil – With a request to prevail upon the CM and convince him about your stance.

Rajesh Darak

Mera Bharat Mahaan…Nahi Hai,
Per Yeh Dosh Mera Hai.

Posted in WB S B Pujari | Leave a Comment »

Whistleblower_Praveen_Gedam_Transferred

Posted by ekavi on July 13, 2006

Dear Friends of WB,

The transfer of 28 year old, honest IAS officer, Shri Praveen (not ‘Pravin’) Gedam is a malafide transfer similar to that of Sudhakar Pujari of MPSC.

We must expose this sudden malafide transfer, since he has not completed even one year and he has filed FIRs against more than 90 corporators and the same is under investigation (going on at an snail’s pace due to political pressure on police).

A no. of PILs on this issue have been already filed at Aurangabad High Court by local corporator Narendra Patil & others. Govt. (UDD which is with CM) has proved its malafide intentions by sending illegal letter to Gedam restraining him from any further action on any other corruption matters.

MEDIA – PLEASE PRINT THIS STORY TOMORROW ITSELF IN THE INTEREST OF JUSTICE & PUBLIC.
_____________________________________________________________________ 
Refer below letter sent by Whistleblower India on 16/2/2006 (Valentine Day)individually to the following authorities :

1)The President of India,
Rashtrapati Bhawan,
New Delhi

2)Ms. Sonia Gandhi,
Congress Party President,
10, Janpath,
New Delhi – 110 001

3)Dr. Manmohan Singh,
Prime Minister,
New Delhi

4)Mr. S.M. Krishna,
Governor, Maharashtra,
Raj Bhawan, Malabar Hill,
Mumbai – 400 035

5)Mr. Vilasrao Deshmukh,
Chief Minister, Maharashtra,
Mantralaya,
Mumbai – 400 032

6)Mr. R.R.Patil ,
Deputy Chief Minister, Maharashtra,
Mantralaya,
Mumbai – 400 032

7)Mr. R.M. Premkumar,
Chief Secretary, Maharashtra,
Mantralaya,
Mumbai – 400 032

8)Mr. Ramanand Tiwari,
Secretary, Urban Development Department, Maharashtra State,
Mantralaya,
Mumbai – 400 032

9)Dr. P.S. Pasricha
Director General of Police, Maharashtra State,
State Police Head Quarters, Opposite Regal Cinema,
Mumbai

10)Shri Vasant Koregaokar
Superintendent of Police,
Jalgaon,
Maharashtra State

Letter :

16th February 2006

Respected Madam / Sir,

Subject: FIR registered against 90 former and serving corporators based on complaint filed by a whistleblower, Jalgaon Municipal Commissioner, Shri Praveen Gedam – Apprehension of miscarriage of justice; appeal for personal intervention.

Shri Praveen Gedam, 28 – year old, Jalgaon Municipal Commissioner, has blown the whistle on a public housing scam and based on his complaint an FIR has been registered against over 100 people under the Prevention of Corruption Act, for misusing public funds and misleading the govt. The accused include sitting mayor, deputy mayor, etc. and cut across partylines, viz. Congress, BJP, NCP, Shiv Sena and others.

Though Shri Praveen Gedam filed the complaint on the 27th January, 2006, the FIR was registered by the police only on the 3rd February, 2006.

None of the accused have been arrested or interrogated so far.

The police is not opposing the anticipatory bail applications of the accused on the unconstitutional ground that it will curtail the liberty of the accused.

As a result of police inaction, the accused are sending defamation notices to Shri Praveen Gedam.

We request you to encourage, support and protect the whistleblower, Shri Praveen Gedam so that the culprits get convicted and the whistleblower does not get murdered as had happened in case of whistleblowers, Satyendra Dubey and Manjunath.

We expect your immediate, strong-willed and result-oriented
intervention to ensure that the police stops favouring the accused and starts investigating the offence.

With regards,

Yours truly,

————————————-
Rajesh Darak, (Secretary)
WHISTLEBLOWERS INDIA
(An action group for whistleblowers in India)
Address for Correspondence :
8, Varsha, North South Road No. 5, Vile Parle (W), Mumbai – 400 056.
Tel. : +91- (0)22 – 2614 0519  /  2614 0957


Rajesh Darak

Mera Bharat Mahaan…Nahi Hai,
Per Yeh Dosh Mera Hai.

Posted in WB Praveen Gedam | 4 Comments »

EXTREMELY URGENT AND IMPORTANT – SECURITY TO MURDER WITNESS

Posted by ekavi on July 13, 2006

Dear Friends of Whistleblowers,

Three of us, we met Shri Sudhakar Shetty, yesterday at Nala Sopara in Vasai in Thane. He is a braveheart for sure. Those who wish to support him in thought and action may call him on his mobile no. 93228-15079. We must all back him to the hilt and be prepared to participate in a morcha or dharna for supporting his cause of fighting criminalisation of politics in order to protect the constitution.

RD

P.S. I have sent the hard copies of the below letters by speed post too to all four authorities. FYI.

On 3/23/06, rajesh darak <darak786@gmail.com> wrote:

FYI and necessary action.

RD

———- Forwarded message ———-

From: rajesh darak <darak786@gmail.com >

Date: Mar 23, 2006 6:23 PM
Subject: EXTREMELY URGENT AND IMPORTANT – SECURITY TO MURDER WITNESS
To: CG_President_Abdul_Kalam < presidentofindia@rb.nic.in>, CG_CPP_Sonia_Gandhi < soniagandhi@sansad.nic.in>, CG_PM_Manmohan_Singh < manmohan@sansad.nic.in>, SG_MAH_GOV < gsecmah@vsnl.net>

                                23rd March 2006 (Shahid Bhagat Singh Jayanti)

President of India,

 

Rashtrapati Bhawan,

   New Delhi

Ms. Sonia Gandhi, Congress Party President,

10, Janpath,

New Delhi – 110 001

Dr. Manmohan Singh,

Prime Minister,

New Delhi

Mr. S.M. Krishna, Governor, Maharashtra ,

Raj Bhawan, Malabar Hill,

Mumbai – 400 035

Respected Sirs / Madam,

Subject: Security for Shri Sudhakar Shetty, a witness in Suresh Dube murder case in which the main accused is mafia don, Shri Bhai Thakur (brother of sitting MLA, Shri Hitendra Thakur of Vasai assembly constituency in Thane District of Maharashtra) – Threat to life, apprehension of murder, miscarriage of justice; appeal for personal intervention.

Shri Sudhakar Shetty, a 49 year old man and who runs a small hotel near Nala Sopara Station for the last 30 years, does not seem to be living in fear, though death seems to be looking straight in his face. He is the only surviving witness who has not refused to testify or turned hostile in the case of murder of builder, Suresh Dube.

 

Dube’s murder was a message to all builders – if you want to do business, share your profits with Bhai Thakur. Bhai has a stake in every business, legal or illegal, in the region – from construction to cable television, bootlegging to gambling. His brother, Hitendra Thakur, has won the Vasai seat in four consecutive assembly elections over the last 18 years. He himself has several criminal cases against him including threat / attempt to cause death. You may refer to his declaration to the state election commission on the below link, http://ceo.maharashtra.gov.in/genesys/61/HitendraVishnuThakur/HitendraVishnuThakur.htm  

 

Shetty has been receiving threats not to appear in court and he is not sure if he will reach the court premises. He was summoned to the TADA court in February this year. He was in court from 11 am to 5 pm but his testimony was not recorded. The court told him he will be called again to testify in the last week of March. His decision is unenviable. The last time a witness to the Dube murder, Smt. Navleen Kumar, a social activist, stepped into a court to testify, she was brutally murdered. Some people stabbed her frail body 19 times. The govt. was a vital contributor to this murder as is evident by the facts stated in my letter dated 4th July, 2002 to the CM, Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh, on the subject, “Activist Navleen Kumar’s Murder” whose copy is attached herewith for your perusal.

 

Despite appeals to Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Home Minister R.R.Patil , Shetty has not been given any security (Rakshak ban gaya Bhakshak?). We request you to personally intervene and direct the Chief Minister and Home Minister of Maharashtra to immediately provide security, failing which, if any harm is done to Shri Sudhakar Shetty, they will be personally held responsible.

 

              Signed

——————————-

Rajesh Darak, (Secretary),

 Whistleblowers India,

8, Varsha, North South Road No. 5, Vile Parle (W), Mumbai – 400 056.

Tel. : +91- (0)22 – 2614 0519   /  2614 0957

 

Enclosed : as above

_________________________________________________________________ 

                                    4/7/2002

Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh

Chief Minister,

6th Floor, Mantralaya,

Mumbai – 400 032.

———————————

 

Dear Shri Vilasraoji,

 

Sub. : Activist Navleen Kumar’s Murder

 

More than fifteen months back vide my letter dated 20/3/2001 on the subject ‘Final Warning To Undo Your Inaction’, I had stated, “It is again a well-known fact that the Home Ministry has committed a grave act of omission by keeping High Court in darkness in order to get the murderers, who are convicts in the Suresh Dubey murder case, released on parole. Thereafter these henchmen of Bhai Thakur (Dawood associate) unleashed terror in Vasai -Virar area by threatening the witnesses and instilling fear due to which they had to flee to their respective native places. These murderers are known to have ‘purchased’ protection.”

 

I had also stated, “The malafide conduct  of the state has already proven beyond reasonable doubt in the courts in the case relating to the fraudulent & collusive transfer of Shri R.H. Mendonca from the sensitive post of DGP-ACB. This is an eye-opener to the lawlessness prevailing in the state. Shri Chhagan Bhujbal orchestrated the said transfer because he and his corrupt gang of followers were scared of getting trapped (red-handed?) by the ACB while accepting bribes.”

 

With full responsibility I had stated, “If you do not want to take the blame of partnering his crimes you must immediately dismiss Shri Chhagan Bhujbal and get a criminal inquiry initiated.”

 

By not paying heed to my warning you have made a VITAL contribution to the cause of Navleen Kumar’s death and thereby orphaned hundreds of poor and exploited Adivasis.

 

If you HAVE a conscience you will not rest till this GODLIKE woman’s murderers are convicted and hanged by the neck till death.

 

Yours truly,

 

Signed 

 

——————-

Rajesh Darak

8, Varsha, North South Road No. 5, Vile Parle (W), Mumbai – 400 056.

Tel. : +91- (0)22 – 2614 0519   /  2614 0957

 

c.c. : Shri P.C.Alexander, Hon. Governor – With a request to recommend the

centre to dismiss the incumbent govt., impose President’s rule and uphold the constitution by handing over all relevant cases to the CBI.

Posted in WB SETHEE, Whistleblower's Families | Leave a Comment »

VICTIMISATION OF WHISTLEBLOWER SHRI S.D.SHINDE, ASSISTANT SECURITY OFFICER, MUMBAI PORT TRUST (MbPT), MUMBAI

Posted by ekavi on July 13, 2006

Please read the heart-rending story below :

VICTIMISATION OF WHISTLEBLOWER SHRI S.D.SHINDE, ASSISTANT SECURITY OFFICER, MUMBAI PORT TRUST (MbPT), MUMBAI

 

Shri S.D.Shinde, Security Officer, MbPT, Mumbai, is another example of an oasis in the desert of corruption. He was named as a chief conspirator for the thefts which he himself had exposed! He was arrested and put behind bars for more than a month by the corrupt police on the basis of statements of those very crooks whom he exposed!

 

Let us recall some of the noteworthy events portraying his disclosures and instances of his victimisation :

 

1)       Assisted the Assistant Director, Shri Bhimashankar, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) in registering a case against a smuggler, Shri Chand and his associates in 1994.

 

2)       Exposed pilferage of imported oil between 1994 and 1997. A few of the accused were arrested and part of the oil was recovered, but the main accused remained scot-free. His confidential report got leaked to one of the main culprits, Shri Narsing Modi, who used it to file a frivolous defamation case against him. The then Dy.Chairman of MbPT, Shri R.R.Sinha provided tacit support to the culprit by refusing to defend his own officer. Finally, the court absolved Shri S.D.Shinde. His suggested preventive measure of arranging weighments inside the docks instead of outside was not paid heed to.

 

3)       Reported theft of chemicals (tetracycline) to the police in 1997 and the accused were arrested, but instead of getting a pat on his back, he was asked to explain his conduct by the then, Chief Security Officer (CSO) of MbPT, Shri P.R.Gaikwad.

 

4)       Blew the cover on illegal clearance of ship-stores & other materials from foreign-going vessels using forged documents from time to time by smugglers Shri Chand & others, between 1994 and 2003, but no concrete action was initiated by the authorities. The smugglers operated thru’ firms registered with MbPT. In 2004, a senior police inspector was arrested by the anti-corruption bureau, while accepting a bribe from one of the accused Shri Majeed, an associate of smuggler, Shri Chand.

 

5)       Discovered and reported a case of fraud in 1998, relating to import of machinery worth Rs.6 crores, involving undeclared & excess cargo. Despite hypothecation to SBI as a security against its loan, the MbPT auctioned it at a throwaway price of Rs.14 lacs only. Instead of nominating Shri S.D.Shinde for an award, the then Dy.Chairman, Shri R.R.Sinha issued him a show-cause notice, nine months later in 1999, asking him to explain his conduct!

 

6)       Caught Shri Sayyed Karim, red-handed, while trying to sneak out 150 gold bars valued at about Rs.70 lacs in 1999.

 

7)       Submitted confidential reports including photos, during end of 2002, on encroachments of illegal garages, service centers, vendors and parkings in the MbPT premises indicating connivance of MbPT & police officials. Once again history repeated itself. The Traffic Manager, Shri C.S.Murty, issued a memo to Shri S.D.Shinde.

 

8)       Soon thereafter in early 2003, he was chargesheeted on frivolous grounds such as for assisting customs & CBI (in violation of Customs Act, CVC Manual & Major Port Trusts Act) by his corrupt superiors in MbPT.

 

An entry was made in his annual confidential report (ACR), “The officer is very sincere but extra inquisitive”.

 

9)       In July, 2003, three containers loaded with imported cargo landed from Dubai at MbPT. Shri S.D.Shinde was transferred to the MbPT hospital before the said containers were opened and found empty. Soon thereafter, his entry in the cargo handling area of the docks was restricted by the Traffic Manager, Shri C.S.Murty & the CSO, Shri R.N.Shaikh of MbPT. To top it all, he was suspended in November, 2003, 10 months after being chargesheeted on frivolous grounds in January, 2003, as a result of an inquiry initiated in 1999! To the best of our knowledge no investigation has been done in this matter so far.  

 

10)   Even after suspension, he was not allowed to rest in peace. In July, 2004, another frivolous chargesheet was issued to him for doing his duty by visiting the offices of customs, police, head office, head quarters, vigilance department for follow-up actions or assisting them in their investigations as required by them.

 

11)   In February 2005, Shri S.D.Shinde submitted a well researched report on increase in theft & smuggling activities in the port area including theft of chemicals, bulk drugs, etc. by tampering with and replacing seals of loaded import / export container cargo under report of ‘shortlanding-seal intact but cargo missing’. He also furnished details of specific containers as well as names, addresses, etc. of some of the main history sheeters such as Barkat Ali, Paravej, Amarsingh Rajput (Tiger) who had connections with renowned smugglers such as Zia & Iqbal Mirchi. Atleast 5 FIRs were registered as a consequence of this report and another subsequent report by an importers’ association about short landing in 14 containers. Part of these events appeared as news in the Indian Express, Mumbai edition, dated 22nd March, 2005 and 29th May, 2005.

 

12)   The climax of this story is that a conspiracy was hatched against Shri S.D.Shinde by those very crooks who were involved in these thefts, with the connivance of other corrupt MbPT and police officials. Only some of those actually involved in the crimes were made accused & chargesheeted by the police, whereas many others with whose connivance the thefts occurred in the container yard   such as certain MbPT & police officials on duty, certain transporters and certain buyers of the stolen goods,  were simply made witnesses.

 

Shri S.D.Shinde who blew the whistle and reported these thefts (under the govt.’s resolution for protection of Whistleblowers) was falsely implicated by some such witnesses as a chief conspirator; as a result of which his anticipatory bail was denied and he was falsely arrested & chargesheeted. This is a classic example of ‘Ulta chor kotwal ko datey’. Shri S.D.Shinde was not responsible for guarding the area where the thefts occurred since he was posted as a security incharge of MbPT hospital till the date of his arrest. Also, he was down with jaundice, underwent treatment at the MbPT hospital and was on sick leave for almost 2 months during this period.

 

Who else could have been a better sacrificial goat than the chief impediment to the greed of the corrupt? They did not want him to reach their necks so they decided to cut his. If we feel he deserves to be encouraged, supported and protected we must do what the system has failed to do. What the MbPT bosses or the CVC or the Home Minister could not do – first pat him on his back and then help him fight for justice.

 

You may call him on (0)-98693-79577.


Rajesh Darak

Mera Bharat Mahaan…Nahi Hai,
Per Yeh Dosh Mera Hai.

Posted in Uncategorized, WB Suryakant D Shinde | 5 Comments »

A whistle Blower’s tale:Cremation Sheds Scam

Posted by ekavi on July 13, 2006

A whistle Blower’s tale:

Copy of Madras High Court’s judgement in the Cremation Sheds scam dated 27th Feb.1995. Mr. C. Umashankar, IAS was the Prosecution Witness Number One.

The year: 1995 (November)

My designation during the relevant period: Additional Collector (Development) and Project Officer, District Rural Development Agency, Madurai.

Subject: The Madras High Court directed me to file an affidavit on the alleged corruption in Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (Jawahar Rural Employment Scheme) during November 1995. This was caused by my affidavit before the Central Administrative Tribunal, seeking to quash my transfer orders from Madurai to Chennai during November 1995.

The Madras High Court found force in my allegation and ordered a CBI enquiry. As a result, two former Ministers, three senior IAS officers and a host of others were prosecuted by CBI. Majority of them spent a few days/months in judicial custody.

The case is still on, even after 10 years.

The Madras High Court’s judgement is attached herewith.

The judgement makes an point that a note file is crucial to find out corruption in a transaction. Without notefile a file has no life. The right to information Act would be toothless without the notefile coming under the RTI’s purview.

Why now?: Mr.Srivasta Krisha, a junior IAS officer who serves with World Bank, Washington had called me a crank in an interview to DATAQUEST during Oct.2005. I was obliged to publish this piece of material to let my juniors such as Srivasta Krishna to know the real stuff of their seniors, at least a few of them who have the courage to take the system head on, in the interest of India’s future.

And of course the RTI Act had come into being on the 12th October 2005. There is a serious threat that the notefile may be gunned down. I wish to sensitise the leaders to leave the RTI as it is. The NOTEFILE should be covered by the RTI. This is the only protection available to the honest officers through the RTI. If the NOTEFILE is removed from the RTI Act’s purview, then India is going to be in Square one again!

View the judgement

 

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS

(Special Original Jurisdiction)

Tuesday, the twenty seventh day of February one thousand nine hundred and ninety six.

Present:

The Honourable Mr.Justice ARUNACHALAM

and

The Honourable Mr.Justice JAYARAMA CHOUTA

W.P No.15929/95 and W.M.P Nos. 27523, 27524 and 27998 of 1995 respectively.

WP No.15929/95:

S.Gopalan .. Petitioner

-vs-

1. The State of TamilNadu rep. By the Chief Secretary, Fort St. George, Madras –9.

2. The State of TamilNadu, rep. By the Secretary, Rural Development & Local Administration, Fort St. George, madras-9.

3. The District Collector of Madurai.

4. The District Collector of Chengai MGR District.

5. The District Collector of Pudukottai. Pudukottai district.

6. The District Collector of Tiruchy, Tiruchirapalli.

7. C.Umashankar .. Respondents

WMP Nos. 27523 & 27524/95:

1. R.S. Bharathy .. Petitioner in both the petitions (Proposed petitioner in WP No.15929/95 on the file of this Court)

-vs-

1. The State of TamilNadu rep. By the Chief Secretary, Fort St. George, Madras –9.

2. The State of TamilNadu, rep. By the Secretary, Rural Development & Local Administration, Fort St. George, madras-9.

3. The District Collector of Madurai.

4. The District Collector of Chengai MGR District. .. Respondents in both the

5. The District Collector of Pudukottai. Pudukottai district. Petitions

6. The District Collector of Tiruchy, Tiruchirapalli. (Respondents 1 to 6 and

7. S.Gopalan Petitioner in do.)

W.M.P No. 27998 of 1995 :

Killivalavan .. Petitioner / Proposed Petitioner in WP No.15929

of 95 on the file of this Court.

-vs.

1. S.Gopalan, Vice President, Consumer

Protection Council, Tiruchy district … Respondent

2. The State of TamilNadu rep. By the Chief Secretary, Fort St. George, Madras –9.

3. The State of TamilNadu, rep. By the Secretary, Rural Development & Local Administration, Fort St. George, madras-9. .. Respondents / Petitioner

4. The District Collector of Madurai.

5. The District Collector of Chengai MGR District. ..

6. The District Collector of Pudukottai. Pudukottai district.

7. The District Collector of Tiruchy, Tiruchirapalli. (Respondents 1 to 6 and

Petitioner in do.)

Petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, praying that in the circumstances stated therein, and in the affidavit filed therewith the High Court will be pleased to issue a writ of Mandamus directing the respondents herein to take action against those responsible for the looting of public (Central) funds allocation in Central Government Welfare Scheme viz., Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY).

WMP Nos. 27523, 27524 and 27998 of 1995.

Petitions presented to this Court to (1) implead the petitioner herein as a party in the said W.P.No. 15929 of 1995 (in W.M.P No. 27523/95) on the file of this Court; (2) grant interim direction to the Chief Secretary to the Government of TamilNadu to collect and produce all the files under the Rural Development Agency and the sale of Poromboke land situated near Marris theatre, Tiruchirapalli (in WMP No.27524/95) pending the said WP. No. 15929/95 on the file of this Court; and (3) permit the petitioner to be implead as a party respondent in the said W.P No.15929/95 on the file of this Court (in WMP No. 27988/95) respectively.

ORDER: This Write Petition and W.M.Ps coming on for hearing on Friday the 2nd day of February, 1996 and upon perusing the petition and W.M.Ps and the respective affidavits filed in support thereof the order of the High court dt. 20.11.1995 and made herein and the Counter affidavit filed herein and the records relevant to the prayer aforesaid comprised in the return of respondents to the Writ made by the High Court and upon hearing the arguments of Mr.P.Peppin Fernando, Advocate for the Petitioner, No.15929/95 and for the 7th respondent in W.M.P Nos. 27523 and 27524/95 and for the 1st respondent in W.P No. 15929/95 and of Mr.V.Selvaraj, Advocate for the 7th respondent in W.P No.15929/95 and for the petitioner in WMP. No. 27998/95, and having stood over for consideration till this day, the Court made the following order:-

ORDER.

ARUNACHALAM,J

The letters dated 1-11-1995 and 6-11-1995, addressed to the Honourable the Chief Justice, Madras along with Photostat copies of newspaper cuttings, were scrutinised by the Honourable Judge in charge of Public Interest Litigation cell and Honourable Chief Justice. On 14-11-1995 the Honourable the Chief Justice minuted as follows:

“Treat it as writ petition under the captain PIL”.

The further direction of the Honourable the Chief Justice was to post the said writ petition before our Division Bench.

2. On 20-11-1995, we passed the following orders:

“We have perused with care and circumspection the letters received from Petitioner S.Gopalan, addressed to the Honourable the Chief Justice, Madras. We are satisfied that a prima facie cause exists to treat the letter received from the petitioner as one relating to public interest.

2. On that basis, we admit this writ petition and direct issue of notices to Respondents 1 to 6 listed in the Writ Petition as well as to Thiru.C.Uma Shankar IAS., Additional Collector (Development), Madurai, returnable on 29-11-1995.

3. While forwarding notices to respondents, Registry shall append to the notice copy of the letter received from the petitioner as well as Xerox copies of the two news items forwarded along with these letters by the petitioner, to the Honourable the Chief Justice.

List on 29-11-1995.”

On 29-11-1995, Mr.V.Selvaraj, Advocate, represented that he was taking notice on behalf of Thiru.C.Umashankar impleaded as Respondent No.7 in the writ petition. Learned Government Pleader stated that he had instructions to file a vakalat on behalf of Respondents 1 t o6. Petitioner, who initiated this Public Interest Litigation was also present in the Court. We directed the 7th respondent, through his counsel, to file an affidavit detailing all the facts within his knowledge and awareness about disposal of Central funds allocated under Jawahar Rozgar Yojana. For further orders, we directed listing of the petition on 4-12-1995.

3. On 4-12-1995, we afforded time for filing counter affidavit by Respondents 1 to 6 on or before 18-12-1995 and directed posting of the writ petition for final disposal on 19-12-1995.

4. Meanwhile, W.M.Ps Nos. 27998 of 1995 and 27523 of 1995 were filed by Killivalavan and R.S.Bharathy to have them impleaded as parties in the main writ petition. Killivalavan claims to have been in politics and social service for the past 45 years and he has reason to believe that the Societies listed in the annexure to the letter of the Special Commissioner and Secretary to Government, Rural Development Department dated 28-6-1995 were not in existence defacto and were not executing any work. It was also his statement on oath that in the name of the said societies, the works were actually carried out by others and there appeared to be corruption and fraud. R.S.Bharathy has stated in his affidavit that he is the Joint Secretary of Legal Wing of another political party and would aver on oath that there have been unlawful actions of public servants, in respect of municipal poromboke lands in Tiruchirapalli, which were sought to be sold in detriment to public interest. Through W.M.P No. 27524 of 1995, R.S.Bharathi has impleded for issue of direction, interim in nature, to the Chief Secretary to Government of Tamil Nadu, to collect and produce all files connected with implementation of various schemes and Rural Development Agency and sale of poromboke lands situated near Marris Theatre, Tiruchirapalli. These three petitions were kept in abeyance, without passing any orders and they were directed to be listed along with the main writ petition, on 12-1-1996.

5. We requested Mr.V.Selvaraj, who has entered appearance on behalf of Respondent No.7 (Thiru.C.Umashankar) to take us through the salient features of Jawahar Rozgar Yojana and point out as to how the object of the scheme allegedly stood thwarted, on the basis of the entire material placed before us, copies of which stood already supplied to him.

6. Mr.V.Selvaraj referred to certain paragraph of the affidavit of Thiru.C.Umashankar as well as certain documents appended in the typed sets of papers, to contend that even when there was no proposal in Madurai district to construct cremation sheds utilising JRY funds, Bharathiyar Multipurpose Co-operative Village Industrial Society Limited, Omalur Taluk, Salem district, had presented a letter dated 27-3-1995 addressed to the Additional Collector / Project Officer, District Rural Development Agency, Madurai to the District Collector on 8-4-1995 as though a decision had already been taken for construction of cremation sheds in the district and orders should be given to the said Society for construction of cremation sheds. Even on the same day, the District Collector, Madurai (3rd Respondent in the writ petition) made an endorsement on that letter,

“ AC(D) Pl. discuss. It seems the

project is good. The Chengalpattu

District has placed orders under

JVVT surplus funds. Please check

up whether we can also place orders.

We can place orders for 150 Nos.

100 Nos. for P.Us and 50 Nos. for

Town Panchayats we can select the

AD colonies only.”

On the basis of this Note, Thiru.C.Umashankar (7th Respondent) claims to have met the District Collector, Madurai (3rd respondent) and opposed placing of orders, since he was shocked at the contents of the letter dated 27-3-1995. In his own affidavit, Respondent No.7 has stated that the District Collector (R-3) then told him that “the Minister for Local Administration was insisting for ordering 300 numbers and when others do it, we have to do it”. R7 claims that he was helpless and therefore refused to pace any orders on his own. R3 himself undertook the responsibility and ordered opening of the file for the said purpose. R7 put up a note stating that entrusting JVVT works to outside agencies would cause loss of employment to Madurai district and hence the number of sheds should be restricted to 100 only. On 24-4-1995, the District Collector passed the note order for construction of 100 cremation sheds by Bharathiar Society, to call it in a shorter form. Mr.Selvaraj contended that even before the officials of the Block level could identify the Adi Dravida colonies, pressure was brought in to issue the work order in favour of the Society. Consequently, on 5-5-1995, an order was issued in favour of Bharathiar Society for construction of 70 cremation sheds only. He referred to a letter dated 20-4-1995 addressed by Bharathiyar Society to the Chief Executive Officer, District Rural Development Agency, requesting 50% advance, stating therein that they had received the work order for erection of cremation sheds in Madurai district for Panchayat Unions and Town Panchayats, though in effect the work order was to follow only on 5-5-1995. The Society also mentioned in that letter that it was financially very weak and the members of the Society depended upon this society for day to day life.

7. Six months thereafter, on 16-10-1995, one Bharathi, Managing Director of Om Muruga Cement Article Works, Padiyanallur, Madras 52 met R-7 and handed over a letter emanating from the Special Officer of the said Society. Through this letter, the Society claimed to have completed 70 cremation sheds and requested payment of balance amount fo Rs.10,50,000/-. Even on 26-9-1995, R-7 had inspected one of the cremation sheds constructed by the said Society at Alanganallur along with Additional Block Development Officer, Assistant Divisional Engineer and Union Engineer, Alanganallur. They found on inspection that the work had not been executed in accordance with the specifications. Though the estimated cost of a cremation shed was Rs.30000/- , the total value of the work executed in was less than Rs.15000/-, R-7 put up a note stating that there was no foundation, no brick work, no concrete flooring and that instead of zinc sheet, a low quality asbestos sheet had been used for roofing and recommended that the Director, Rural Development, should be addressed to black list the Society as it tried to defraud the District Rural Development Agency, Madurai and no further payment should also be made. In spite of such a note containing particulars of valuation of work submitted by the Additional Block Development Officer, Alanganallur, the District Collector, Madurai (R-3), on 16-10-1995 itself, the date of receipt of the letter from the Society, passed the following order:

“A: Rs.10.50 lakhs released as the

final bill. The estimate was

approved by the government. The balance

amount of Rs.10.5 lakhs should be

released immediately.

B: We can write to DRD for further

action. Please release the cheque

immediately.”

In the opinion of R-7, the order passed by the third respondent was not in consonance with law and hence he refused to release the cheque. He also received yet another report from the Assistant Executive Engineer, Usilampatti, stating that the construction of burial ground shed at Uthangudi would not cost more than Rs.14,000/-. A further note was put up by R-7 n 18-10-1995 and before that note could reach the third respondent, R-7 was transferred. After transfer orders were issued, R-7 inspected the burial ground shed constructed at Uthangudi village, Madurai East panchayat union. The inspection was to satisfy himself whether he had correctly rejected payment to Bharathiyar Society. R-7 found to his surprise that there was no foundation at all. There was no brick work, no sand filling, white washing, foundation concrete or brick work. The entire burial ground could be dismantled within 45 minutes and installed in some other place without difficulty in another one hour. Nothing was permanently installed in the burial ground shed. The length of the shed was short by 3 feet. The value of work done was only Rs.14,000/- whereas the Society had claimed Rs.30,000 for each shed. R-7 was convinced that he had correctly rejected the claim of the Society. R-7 was also enclosing photographs showing the deficiencies noticed by him and added that there was no way for making payment as claimed by the Society. Rather, the society should be asked to repay Rs.1000 per each shed as they had carried out work worth Rs.14000 only, after having taken an advance of Rs.15000 for each shed. Mr.Selvaraj contended that under the Jawahar Rozgar Yojana there was another scheme named Indira Awaas Yojana. Under this scheme, people below the poverty line should be helped to put up houses of their own, using the money given by the Government. The work should be done locally using locally available raw materials only. The work should not be given to any Government department or any intermediary. Contrary to the purport of the scheme, Government had passed orders for the purchase of steel doors from named co-operative societies. He also stated that for construction of school buildings etc., local labour alone should be employed and locally available materials alone should be used. However, Government had passed orders directing purchase of materials from named Societies. According to R-7, there are societies at village level itself, who can, if necessary, supply materials required. He has claimed that the Government had passed orders for purchase of centring materials from named cooperative societies fro IRDP, JRY and other schemes. It is the grievance of R-7 that contrary to the object of the scheme, which intended direct employment to the beneficiaries, the works were entrusted to the ruling party people. He would state on oath that there is an unwritten rule that 80% of the work should be given to the Branch Secretaries of AIADMK party and the remaining 20 percent should be given to ruling party MLAs. The administration was coerced to follow this unwritten rule. In spite of his efforts by issuing of circulars that work should be entrusted only to beneficiaries, he was not able to succeed. Even the District Collector (R-3) was helpless and was insisting that this unwritten rule should be obeyed. Mr.Selvaraj, learned advocate, brought to our notice two letters dated 20-9-1995 and 27-9-1995 addressed to the Honourable Minister and to the District Collector, Madurai (R-3), by V.Raman, an AIADMK functionary and Thirmathi Pandiammal respectively. The letter dated 20-9-1995 contains a statement that the party men (AIADMK) were prevented from doing any work and they were also strictly warned from doing any such work by R-7. The letter dated 27-9-1995 states that in Sellampatti Panchayat Union certain percentage of work has been entrusted to members of the Legislative Assembly and “Ondriya Seyalalar”. However, the “Thitta Aluvalar” (probably R-7) was recommending that this work should be entrusted to some one else. Mr.Selvaraj emphatically argued that all that stood prevented under the scheme, were given a goby by the Government , with a view to benefit the ruling political party. He further pointed out that it was rather strange that for a work to be done in Madurai, the Society at Salem was given the contract. The concept of utilising of local ingenuity and labour and thus stood thwarted.

7. Mr.R.Krishnamurthi, learned Advocate General referred to certain passages in the counter affidavits filed by one or other of the respondents and submitted that the schemes were job oriented and must certainly benefit the poor rural people. The work was community based and execution was left to certain societies on the ground of economic viability. The pre fabricated material required could not be obtained locally and the societies to which the work was entrusted also had as their members poor rural people. The societies were also utilising local labour for mixing concrete, digging pits, unloading of RCC material, erection of pillars, earth filling etc. he submitted that the local labour were not deprived of work and therefore the object of the scheme was not frustrated. He contended that the co-operative societies, seven in number, were in existence. To a question by Court that by directing entrustment of work to seven societies by the Government, there was no discretion left in the officers, to be exercised, learned Advocate general had no answer. He submitted that if a part of the scheme was strictly followed, there would be obvious violation of certain other rules framed elsewhere under the scheme. He would submit that by and large, the object of the scheme was kept in view by the Government. He pointed out that the balance claimed by Bharathiyar Society was later stopped and therefore it can be safely taken that further payments were not effected. He also contended that there was no society manufacturing pre fabricated structures at Madurai and therefore there was nothing wrong in the work having been entrusted to a Society at Salem. He was frank enough in stating that the ideal way of following of the scheme would be to entrust the entire work in Madurai area, but that not having been done, cannot be stated to be an exercise of mala fide. He placed before us a letter addressed to Sales Tax authorities by the Society to manufacture pre fabrications at two definite places. He contended that though the authorities concerned were not maintaining muster-rolls, the societies concerned were maintaining the same.

9. In reply, Mr.Selvaraj contended that the amount involved in these schemes was several crores of rupees and it was pima facie evident from the documents brought on record that some societies stood favoured specially, contrary to the object of the scheme, and one society in Ariyalur was most often found closed on several days, when it was inspected. He also contended on the basis of the note file, that Bharathiyar Society, after taking the advance of Rs.10.5 lakhs, carried out no work till 22-6-1995. It was also noticed on 17-8-1995 that the society had not sent any report with records , like work bill, certificate received from ABDOs, estimates and designs approved by the DE, HRW, Madurai. It was therefore that inspection was made on 26-6-1995 by R-7. Mr.Selvaraj contended that the implications are far reaching and on the material available, a thorough investigation may have to be done, for then alone, the public in general, will have confidence about proper utilisation or otherwise of the funds allotted by the Central Government.

10. We did not deem in necessary to allow impleding of Killivalavan or Bharathi. Thiru. Bharathi has referred to a totally different subject, while the grievance can easily be taken care of on the material already brought on record.

11. This is a case where an officer of a fairly high rank working under the scheme, has chosen to level allegations of mis utilisation of funds, solely with the object of benefiting members of the ruling party. An officer in service should have enough courage to question the activities of the Government and if his outburst has some relevance on the foundation of notes contemporaneously made, then, this Court would be justified in not brushing aside the serious allegations made by an officer of Government, as vindictively laid due to his transfer from the said position. It may be that the transfer was effected in the usual course, or it may be that the transfer was an off-shoot, for not following the written or unwritten directions issued b the Government from time to time. We do not want to offer any opinion on this subject, for R-7 has questioned his transfer before the Central Administrative Tribunal and the same is pending disposal.

12. It is not as though we have taken cognisance of this public interest litigation writ petition on the basis of allegations made by an officer of the Government, who claims to be honest, while the other side may dub him disgruntled, but the foundation was receipt of the letters addressed by Gopalan, a social worker of Karur. Since, Thiru.Gopalan, on the basis of news items, had referred to the episode of R-7, Thiru.C.Umashankar, we deemed it necessary to call upon R-7 to furnish on oath all material within his knowledge and awareness about the working of JRY scheme, at lest in relation to the district in which he was working at the relevant time. R-7 was Additional Collector at Madurai, during the relevant time and now he is employed as Additional Director, South Asian Federation Games, Madras. An Officer of that rank should be aware that if he were to swear falsehood, serious consequences were bound to follow.

13. The note file placed for our scrutiny clearly shows that objections raised by R-7 at various stages on the ground that the object of the scheme was sought to be thwarted. However, we have to mention that it is not known as to how he had succumbed to entrust the work to Bharathiyar Society at least to a limited extent. We were also in anguish when two letters dated 20-9-1995 and 27-9-1995, in original were produced before us by Mr.V.Selvaraj. Both these originals must have been retained in the file of the District Collector, Madurai (R-3) and should not have been brought out of it by R-7. But, these infirmities do not affect the basic core of the issue involved before us.

14. It will be relevant to refer to certain portions of the JRY manual. Broad outlines and objectives of this scheme stand stated under chapter I. Alleviation of rural poverty, in terms of introduction, has been the major objective of the 7th Five Year Plan, which aimed at bringing down the percentage of people below the poverty line less than 10 by 1994-95. Since prevalence of unemployment and underemployment in the rural areas was a contributing factor for high incidence of poverty, the main thrust in achieving the objective of poverty alleviation was directed towards creation of supplementary employment opportunities for the rural poor during the lean agricultural season through various works programmes. The focus aimed at giving self employment and wage employment to the poorer sections of the community. In this context of new economic policy, it was felt necessary to continue JRY as the largest single employment programme during the 8th Five year Plan period in the country. On the basis of experience gained in implementing the wage employment programmes, the strategy for implementation was modified to ensure better implementation of Yojana during the 8th plan, especially to achieve the target of providing substantial gains of employment per person in backward districts, where there was concentration of unemployed and under employed persons. The primary objective was generation of additional gainful employment for the unemployed an under employed person, both men and women, in rural areas and secondarily creation of community and social assets. The target group were those people below the poverty line and preference shall have to be given to Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribes and freed bonded labourers for employment under the Yojana. 30 percent of the employment opportunities under the Yojana will have to be reserved for women. On criteria and procedure or allocation/release of resources, we have guidelines under Chapter III. The Central assistance will be allocated to the States / U.Ts on the basis of rural poor in a State/UT to other total rural poor in the country. From the States to the districts, the allocation of funds will be made on the index of backwardness formulated on the basis of equal weightage to the proportion of rural SC/ST population in a district to total SC/ST population in the State and the inverse of per capita production of the agricultural workers in that district. Not less than 80 percent of the funds allotted to each district, after providing for earmarked sectors will have to be distributed to village panchayats (lowest level elected body) and the balance of 20 per cent funds should be utilised at district level. The criteria prohibit diversion of resources from one district to another holding it to be impermissible. Similarly, diversion of resources from one village panchayat to another village panchayat will also not be permissible. Works under the Yojana form part of Chapter IV. An illustrative list of works that can be taken up under the Yojana forms part of Annexure III. In the illustrative list under serial No. (xii), mention has been made of construction of community work sheds for target group beneficiaries, community centres, panchayat ghars, SWCRA centres, market yards in areas with concentration of population of weaker sections and Serial No. (xiii) refers to works to purely social and community nature such as dispensaries, panchayat ghars, community centres, cretches, anganwadis, balwadis etc. While utilising funds for providing infrastructure support, the ratio between wage and material component of 60:40 must be observed. It was on this direction, it was contended by learned Advocate-General that in respect of certain works listed under Annexture III, the material component may be more and the wage quotient necessarily may have to be less. In that context, he submitted that it cannot be construed that the object of the scheme had not been correctly fulfilled. While executing a scheme, experience will disclose the manner in which the funds may have to be necessarily utilised. As long as the funds do not get diverted, from those poor to whom they were intended and there cannot be any mala fide attached to a particular work, then certainly no blame can be fastened. We must keep in our view that the works will have to be undertaken for the benefit of identified individuals below the poverty line. Chapter X refers to planning and execution of works. It is stated herein that no work can be taken under RJY unless it forms part of the annual action plan. The works to be taken up under the programme by the village panchayat should preferably be selected out of the list given in Annexure III based on felt needs of the people and the priorities indicated through the village assembly meetings. The standards and specifications of works at the DRDA/Zilla Parishad level shall be the same as approved by the State Government for similar types of works. In order to facilitate the technical scrutiny of the Plan of action of the village panchayat, the authorities at district level, should prepare and approve standard designs and cost estimates of those items of work, which are generally taken up by the village panchayats. At the village level the programme will be implemented through the village panchayats, who will be responsible for planning and execution of the Yojana. Contractors are not permitted to be engaged for execution of any of the works under the programme. No middleman or any such intermediate agency should be employed for executing works under the programme so that the full benefits of wages to be paid reach the workers and the cost of works does not go up on account of commission charges payable to such contractors, middlemen or intermediate agency. Monitoring and evaluation of the work done, get classified under Chapter XI. For effective implementation, physical monitoring through full inspection, is stated to be important. The muster-roll for all works should have entry showing Scheduled Caste / Scheduled Tribes / Landless / Freed bonded labour / Women workers. The concerned officials must sign the muster-roll and also record on the muster rolls a the time of weekly payments a certificate indicating the employment generation for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, and for others as also the total employment generation.

15. Keeping in view these avowed objectives, let us now audit the materials available for our scrutiny to find out if there is any justification for action under the had “Public Interest”.

16. Even at the outset, we must state that on perusal of entire material, an unsavoury impression stands created that the schemes have probably been utilised for scheming to benefit a group of people. We have already extracted the object of the scheme and our detailing of the expected mode of its working would show that neither contractors nor middlemen or intermediary agencies should be employed for executing works under the programme. The object is that the full benefits of wages to be paid should reach the workers and the cost of works should not go up on account of commission charges payable to those category of people. If the work of construction of cremation sheds was intended to be undertaken in Madurai district, it does not stand to reason that orders for construction of 70 sheds should have been passed in favour of an agency situated in Salem and which no roots at Madurai. We have referred earlier to the scheme, which does not permit diversion of resources either from one district to another even from one village panchayat to another village panchayat. These are basic concepts on which the authorities concerned cannot feign ignorance. Before entrusting the work of construction of cremation sheds to Bharathiyar Society, feasibility of such allotment should have been considered. It is not as though the authorities were in the dark about this procedure. It does amaze us that Bharathiyar society had chosen to address a letter dated 27-3-1995 to the Additional Collector / Project Officer (Development), District Rural Development Agency, Madurai, on the subject “Work Order – Requisition – Erection of Cremation Sheds”. The contents of the said letter read that the Society had come to know that the Panchayat unions and town panchayats under the control of the addressee needed cremation sheds. According to the society its members are very well trained in the construction of cremation sheds and they can complete the work as soon as possible, so a request was made to hand over the above work to the said Society, since it was financially weak. It is not disputed by the respondents that on 27-3-1995, there was no proposal imminent for construction of cremation sheds in Madurai area. The note of R-3, the District Collector, Madurai, made on the said letter was naturally the outcome of some discussion with the representative of the society. The note of R-3 reads as hereunder:

“Please discuss. It seems the project

is good. Chengalpattu district has

placed orders under JVVT surplus funds.

Please check up whether we can also

place orders.”

The note does not stop here, but expresses the opinion of the District Collector (R-3) that an order can be placed for 150 numbers, 100 numbers for P.Us and 50 numbers for town panchayats and that they can select AD colonies only. This note was made on 8-4-1995, when there was no decision taken for construction of cremation sheds. On this basis alone, we cannot possibly arrive at a conclusion, that all was not well in the manner in which order for construction of cremation sheds was made in favour of Bharathiyar society.

17. The affidavit of Thiru.C.Umahsankar (R-7) has material significance at this juncture. It will be better to extract certain portions of his affidavit:

“I submit that on 8-4-1995, a person claiming to represent Bharathiyar Multi purpose Co-operative Village Industrial Society Limited, Omalur Taluk, Salem district met the District Collector and presented a letter of the Special Officer of the said Society dated 27-3-1995, addressed to the Additional Collector and Project Officer, DRDA, Madurai. On the date of receipt of the letter there was no proposal in Madurai district to construct any cremation shed, utilising the JRY funds. The letter reads as though a decision had already been taken for construction of Cremation Sheds in the district and orders should be given to the said Society for construction of the Cremation sheds. Strangely, the District Collector made an endorsement in the letter received by him and sent the letter to me through the agent of the said Society himself. The endorsement made by the District Collector dated 8-4-1995 is as follows:

“ AC(D) Pl. discuss. It seems the project is good. The Chengalpattu District has placed orders under JVVT surplus funds. Pl check up whether we can also place orders. We can place order for 150 Nos. 100 Nos for P.Us and 50 Nos. for Town panchayats.

We can select the AD colonies only.”

I submit that I was shocked to read the contents of the letter dated 27-3-1995 received from the Special Officer of the Co-operative Society and the endorsement made by the District Collector I met the District Collector and opposed the same. The District Collector then told me as follows: “The Minister for Local Administration was insisting for ordering 300 Nos. When others do it, we have to do it.” I was helpless. I refused to place any order on my own. The Collector himself undertook to take the responsibility and ordered the opening of a file for the purpose. I put up a note stating that entrusting JVVT works to outside agencies would cause loss of employment to Madurai district and hence the number of sheds should be restricted to 100 only. On 24-4-1995, the District Collector passed the note order for construction of 100 cremation sheds by the said Society. Thereafter only the Block officials were addressed to identify 5 Adi Dravida colonies in each block for construction of cremation sheds. Before the officials at the Block level could identify the Adi Dravida colonies, pressure was brought in to issue the work order in favour of the Society. Consequently, on 5-5-1995, an order was issued in favour of the Society for construction of 70 cremation sheds only.”

It is the definite case of R-7 that the District Collector (R-3) told him that the Minister fro Local Administration was insisting for ordering 300 numbers and that when others do it, they also have to do it. In that context , R-7 claims to have put up a note stating that entrusting JVVT works to outside agencies would cause loss of employment to Madruai district and hence the number of sheds should be restricted to 100 only. The said note dated 20-4-1995 reads as hereunder:

“I have discussed with the Collector. We may order for construction of 100 cremation sheds for Adi dravidas.

The representative of the Society met me today evening. He had agreed to erect tin sheets in place of AC sheets. Both of them cost the same money, he says. He had also agreed to take 50% advance. It is also submitted that giving JVVT works for outside agencies may cause loss of employment to Madurai district people. Hence we may restrict the orders to 100 cremation sheds as discussed with the Collector.”

This was approved by the District Collector (R-3) on 24-4-1995. Hence the claim of R-7 about his earlier discussion with R-3 cannot be brushed aside as irrelevant in view of the contemporaneous record made in the note file. Of course, R-3 has sworn to a counter affidavit, in which he has adopted the contents of the counter affidavit filed on behalf of the State Government. He has specifically denied about the allegations made in Paragraph 9 of the affidavit of R-7, that he had met him and opposed the claim made by the Society. He has further denied that he had told R-7 that the Minister for Local administration was insisting for ordering 300 numbers etc., as stated in the affidavit of R-7. He would further add that the Honourable Minister had never discussed the said subject. He has also chosen to deny about the existence of unwritten rule that 80% of the work should be done by party people and 20% should be entrusted to M.L.As. Of course, we are able to prima facie notice that the two officers have stated certain materials on oath, one of them denying the averments made by the other and vice versa. In normal course, we would have allowed, if there were certain administrative deficiencies, which did not affect the public interest. The subsequent events, which also form part of the note file, placed for our scrutiny, does shock our conscience, for , in spite of R-3 being aware that Bharathiyar Society had not executed the work entrusted to it and if at all the work done would cost only Rs.15000/- or less and that balance of payment should not be made and the Society should be black listed he had ordered forthwith release of Rs.10.5 lakhs. He had also noted that they can write to DRD for further action. There is one more endorsement by R-3, which reads “Please release the cheque”. The note of R-7 shows that he inspected the burial ground shed at Alanganallur on 26-9-1995 and found several deviations, which have been listed by him. He had very clearly noted, for the scrutiny of the Collector (R-3) that the ABDO, Alanganallur after getting the estimate from the UE and ADE, had submitted that the value of work done on each burial ground shed was less than Rs.15000/-. Therefore he recommended that the Society may be informed that for the value of work done by them they were eligible for Rs.10.5 lakhs only and not Rs.30 lakhs. Even for submitting U.Cs, they have to submit the M Book entries. The next recommendation was to write to the DRD to black list the Society as it had tried to defraud DRDA, Madurai. When such a serious complaint stood made against the Society by high ranking officer as R-7, R3 should not have just ordered on the same day for release of Rs.10.5 lakhs without applying his mind. This prima facie, creates a reasonable impression that probably R-3 was being remotely controlled by some agency. The argument of Learned Advocate General that subsequently, payment was stopped, after transfer of R-7 from the post he was then occupying, cannot help, for it is fairly evident that R-7 had gone to the Central Administrative Tribunal, making certain allegation about the manner in which the funds were being misutilised and since he was not in a position to fall in line with the extraneous instruction, he was vindictively transferred from the post he was occupying. On the note made by R-7 we would have expected the Collector to stop payment and have a verification done before any further orders could be passed. That the report made by R-7 must prima facie be correct is further confirmed by his inspection at uthangudi village, after he was ordered to be transferred. He was accompanied by the concerned Engineers and it was noticed by him that there was neither foundation, nor brick work or sand filling etc., as he had stated even earlier. The entire burial ground, according to him can be dismantled within 45 minutes and installed elsewhere without difficulty. The value of work done was only to the extent of Rs.14000/- The reports of R-7 are based on statistical details furnished by Engineers concerned. This is not a matter, which could have been so slightly ignored by R-3.

18. That there should have been some sort of pressure when R-3 had acted, is further clear from the following details. Though the work order in favour of the Society was issued only on 5-5-1995, we find a letter addressed by Bharathiyar Society on 20-4-1995 to the Chief Executive Officer, District Rural Development Agency, Madurai requesting 50% advance amount. This letter reads that the Society had received the work order for the erection of cremation sheds in the said district for panchayat unions and town panchayats and since the society was financially weak and its members depend upon this society for their day to day life, 50% advance amount can be granted. As we have mentioned elsewhere, the work order was issued only on 5-5-1995. That some invisible hand had been operating at every stage is fairly apparent. It does not stop here, for on 17-8-1995, R-3 had forwarded a communication to the Special Officer of Bharathiyar Society in reply to their letter dated 20-4-1995 and the work order dated 5-5-1995. After referring to the conditions of the work order R-3 had stated that though a sum of Rs.10.5 lakhs stood sanctioned as advance for the above works the society was also asked to send weekly progress reports, they had not yet sent any report thus for. R-3 had requested the Society to send the report with individual work bills for payment of the balance amount, copies of estimates and designs approved by DE, (H&RW), Madurai and certificates of Additional Block Development Officers concerned that the cremation sheds were constructed in the places located by them with tin sheet roof in the place of AC sheet roof. R-3 had then stated that those records along with the reports were necessary for adjustment of 50% advance already paid to the Society and for making payment of the balance amount. It is not known as to why the Collector (R-3) should voluntarily be anxious to ask for records to pay the balance amount even before the Society had chosen to send its report on completion of work and demand payment of the balance amount. It is in this context that two letters received by the Collector’s office from V.Raman, a party functionary and Thirumathi. Era Pandiammal, MLA., addressed to the Honourable Minister through the District Collector and to the Collector himself, assumes significance. The complaint is against R-7 for not permitting party functionaries to do works and one of the letters indicates that in Sellampatti Panchayat union certain percentage of work usually stood allotted to the Members of Legislative Assembly and the party secretary of the Panchayat union. Hence the claim of R-7 which has been brought out by the petitioner in this public interest litigation that an unwritten rule existed for allotment of work cannot at all be ignored. It is the case of R-7 that these two letters were forwarded to him by R-3 with a request of course oral, requiring him to follow the unwritten code. We are able to comprehend the anxiety of R-3 to call upon the society to submit certain documents for making payment of the balance due, even before reports of execution stood received and his spontaneous order passed on 16-10-1995 to release Rs.10.5 lakhs in spite of the Note of R-7. Probably, R-7 may be right when he stated in his affidavit that the District collector (R-3) himself was helpless. The note file also discloses that on 14-8-1995 a note was put up about the society not having sent any report with records for having carried out the work allotted to it and it was probably the reason that a letter was addressed to the Society by the Collector.

19. After the order for release of further payment was made by the Collector on 16-10-1995, R-7 has made a note on 18-10-95, which is rather revealing. He has given his reason for rejecting payment of Rs.10.5 lakhs to Bharathiyar Society. He has further added that the District Panchayat cannot afford to lose Rs.10.5 lakhs unnecessarily. He has also mentioned in the note that on 13-9-1995 the Secretary for Rural Development (former) Thiru.Acharyalu called him to talk to him when he (R-7) was camping at Theni. Due to faulty phone links, he could not talk with him from Theni, though he got connection to his residence. The next day, he spoke to him from his chamber at 5.30 p.m. The note file further reads that he (Secretary) wanted him to place further orders for construction of burial ground sheds and he replied that JRY works cannot be executed by outside agency as it vitiated JRY manual norms. He also requested the Secretary to provide grants from the State Government , if he wanted him to construct burial ground sheds through Bharathiyar Society. The secretary replied that the State Government does not have the money. Then the Secretary enquired about the money due to Bharathiyar Society. He informed the Secretary that the U.Es are verifying the work done by Bharathiyar Society and it would take at least ten days to finish the work. The reply of the Secretary quoted in the note file reads as follows:

“ I am your Secretary telling. You must

complete the verification within

five days and make payment. The

Minister for LA is insisting me.”

The note further reads that under the above circumstances in which the Secretary RD. and the Minister for LA have shown extra ordinary interest in getting the payment of money and getting additional orders for the Society, he (R-7) was of the opinion that if they make the final payment when only half the value of work had been done, both of them (R-3 an R-7) will land in serious trouble in future. In the end R-7 has stated that the Society had not performed the work according to the estimate and the Collector may reconsider his direction for making payment. More and more we read the contents of the note file, the greater is the shock experienced by us. These contemporaneous records could not have been made on total emptiness, unless there was some basis for the same. There cannot be smoke without fire.

20. Let us now audit as to how the respondents have chosen to meet the case of the petitioner in this public interest litigation, corroborated by the affidavit of R-7, which we called upon him to file on the facts within his awareness and knowledge. We have already mentioned about the counter affidavit filed by R-3, the District Collector, Madurai, and hence nothing further need to be stated on his affidavit. One counter affidavit dated 18th December 1995 and another additional counter-affidavit dated 31-1-1996 were filed by Mohamed Abdul Kareem, Deputy Secretary to Government, Rural Development Department. After extracting the programme contemplated under Jawahar Rozgar Yojana, he has stated that provision of facilities for cremation is a basic requirement of social and community nature benefiting the rural population. The sheds provided for cremation were very few and that too in certain villages and were very negligible in the case of burning ground for Adi dravidas. Therefore, the Government thought it fit to provide cremation sheds in villages for Adi Dravidas. During the past, such sheds were being put up, on the orders of Collector of respective districts. Taking into account the scope and purpose of JRY and its objectives., the Government had taken a decision to have five sheds in each panchayat union for burning dead bodies in relation to Adi Dravidas colonies all over the State. Then the affidavit reads that the Tamil Nadu Government Khadi and Village Industries Board, apart from having various units is also controlling a number of industrial societies formed by industrial workers engaged in various trades. Such societies comprised of rural artisans and workers in different trades pursuing different avocations. The Tamil Nadu Khadi and Village Industries Board and its units are those which are eligible for institutional priority in relation to purchase or execution of projects. According to the deponent, such societies, which are units of Khadi and Village Industries Board, were registered and controlled by it and were working in a manner which directly benefited its members, who hailed from poorer sections of the community. The government had decided to have sheds put up by seven such societies situated in various districts. Members of those societies were poor industrial workers and artisans having common skills, who have formed themselves into a society for their common good. The entrustment of the implementation of the above work was in effect to assure employment for disadvantageous group of people, who constitute members of such societies, which is one of the principle objectives of JRY scheme. In the counter affidavit, it stands stated that these societies are small rural units working without adequate capital base and therefore Government issued orders to enable advances to be made to such societies for the purpose of purchase of stores, servicing, repairing etc., taking into account the need for timely completion of work. The Deputy Secretary to Government has added that the Collector of every district is the Chairman of District Rural Development Agency and the Collectors select villages for construction of cremation sheds and after such selection, they entrust the work of construction of cremation sheds to Societies which are either situated in the respective districts or those situated closer to the said district. He has stated that no final payment was made to the Society and the matter was being examined by the Collector of Madurai district. He has further mentioned that it would therefore be seen that the allegation made by the petitioner about the cost or estimate of the sheds and the alleged looting of money, proceeds on a misconception of the statement recorded by Thiru.C.Umashankar (R-7) and therefore liable to be rejected in limine. The counter affidavit filed on behalf of the State Government also shows that R-7 had recommended the construction of sheds for 1994-95 as well as for 1995-96. The counter-affidavit throws the onus on the Project Officer to inspect the construction of cremation sheds by the Society and put up a note if the construction as not as per the norms prescribed. A blame is made on R-7 that he could have stopped the construction of cremation sheds, after his inspection on 26-9-1995 on the ground that it was sub-standard. The counter affidavit clearly overlooks the haste with which R-3 had passed orders directing release of Rs.10.5 lakhs to the Society, though, fortunately as good luck would have it, it was not paid. We are not concerned with the allegation sand counter allegations by the Deputy Secretary to the Government and the Additional Collector of Madurai. We are dealing with brass facts in relation to utilisation of funds in respect of a scheme intended to benefit the poorest of the poor people. In the additional counter-affidavit, the deponent would have it that the entrustment of the work of construction of cremation sheds was in effect to assure employment to disadvantageous groups of people, who constitute the members of such societies and those associated with them which is one of the principle objectives of the JRY scheme. He would therefore add that there was no irregularity in allocation of work to the Societies. He has referred to certain paragraphs of the scheme, to which we have already made a reference earlier.

21. We have said enough and more on the factual details available readily for our scrutiny. We are unable to agree with the learned Advocate General that the work of construction of cremation sheds cannot be carried out in Madurai district and it is only the chosen seven societies that will be able to pre-fabricate on economically viable basis and erect tem at the relevant spots. We are unable to understand the economic viability at least at this stage, for, if Rs.30000/- was the estimate for construction of cremation sheds, records starkly indicate that just above half of the estimated sum was spent and what could happen to the balance, is so obvious, that one need not have trouble oneself on that score. As the note of R-7 indicates and which note was made at a time when litigation of this nature could not even have been dreamt of the fact that these sheds without any foundation, though a foundation was expected to be made, could be manually lifted after unearthing it within about 45 minutes and erected elsewhere, cannot be lost sight of. It is open to doubt, if one or other of the societies, spreading their net of operations in various districts, after obtaining payment in one area, would be prepared to shift one or more these sheds to some other locality to obtain fresh payments without incurring any expense. These are very serious matters, which require thorough probe. If all that stood done was correctly done, then the investigation, which we intend ordering now, would indicate that all was well in the scheme operation. On the contrary, if the prima facie material indicated by us, does lead probably to further depths of a possible scandal or a scam, that will definitely have to be unearthed. If foundations were not dug, there was little scope for earth work and the claim that local labour was also utilised, which of course if at all must be very meagre, ay after all be an eye wash without much of seriousness attached to it. We at least have record to show that work entrusted in Tiruchirapalli district to Ariyalur Society for construction of cremation sheds was not carried out and that in spite of the visits of the District Development officer, the premises of this society was almost always closed and no work was carried out (Please refer to the letter of A.Paramanandam, District Development Officer, dated 12-7-1995 addressed to the District Collector, Tiruchirapalli). We are unable to see, that in the annexure to the letter dated 28-6-1995, addressed to Special Commissioner and Secretary to Government, to the Director of Rural Development, Madras, this Bharathiyar Society has not been mentioned at all, though the name of the said society does find a place in a similar letter addressed by the Director of Rural Development to all Project Officers , District Rural Development Agencies, dated 12-10-1995. Hence, the argument that the existence of the Society on a permanent basis is open to doubt, cannot be slightly rejected. Of course, some audited statement of accounts of these societies were also placed for our scrutiny by the learned Advocate General, apart from belated submission after orders stood reserved, of certain copies of vouchers for payment made to local labourers by Bharathiyar society. These are matters which will have to be carefully scrutinised during the course of investigation, which we intend directing now.

22. We are prima facie of the opinion, that in the guise of helping the rural poor, certain societies selected by the Government, were virtually favoured with contracts, be it under pressure or under unwritten code, totally overlooking the poor in the district concerned, who are expected to be benefited from this scheme. It is no answer to state that the members of these societies are also poor artisans, for local artisans should have to be utilised under the scheme in their own districts. It is further evident that the State Government had passed orders for purchase of steel doors and centring materials, from named co-operative societies, which , in effect deny utilisation of local labour and available local material. If the Government chosen societies stand underlined, what is the discretion left to the local authorities to follow the salient principles of the Scheme? Does it not appear that they have to sign on dotted lines? An indelible impression stands struck in our minds, that all is not well in the functioning of the schemes and moneys intended for the poorest of the poor, probably are diverted to those select few who, of course, do not deserve it.

23. Since he material stated by us above prima facie shows, probable involvement of hierarchy of high-ranking officers and probably higher ups as well, we are of the opinion that investigation about the working of JRY scheme in Madurai district should be conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation. In the interest of justice, it may require that a high ranking officer of the Central Bureau of Investigation, in the rank of Superintendent of Police at least, should be entrusted with this investigation. Since directions for investigations are issued by this Court, the consent envisaged under Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, will not stand attracted, as has been observed by the Supreme Court in State of West Bengal v Sampat Lal (AIR 1985 S.C.195). During the course of investigation, it will certainly be open to the investigating agency to spread its nets to the working of the scheme in other districts as well. We direct the Central Bureau of Investigation to register a complaint on the basis of the letters of Gopalan, petitioner herein, as well as on the averments made bu R-7 in his affidavit, investigate the matter thoroughly and forward a final report as expeditiously as possible.

24. This Writ Petition is disposed in terms of our directions detailed above. No costs.

25. W.M.Ps No.27523, 27524 and 27998 of 1995 are dismissed.

True Copy

5-3-1996.

Signed by Sub Assistant Registrar,

(Statistics)

High Court, Madras 600 114.

 

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Excerpts from the Judgement of Madras High court in the “Cremation Sheds Scam” dated 27th February 1996

 

Para 7: “It is the grievance of  R-7 (C.Umashankar IAS.,) that contrary to the object of the scheme, which intended direct employment to the beneficiaries, the works were entrusted to the ruling party people. He would state on oath that there is an unwritten rule that 80% of the work should be given to the Branch Secretaries of AIADMK party and the remaining 20 percent should be given to ruling party MLAs. The administration was coerced to follow this unwritten rule. In spite of his efforts by issuing of circulars that work should be entrusted only to beneficiaries, he was not able to succeed. Even the District Collector (R-3) was helpless and was insisting that this unwritten rule should be obeyed”.

Para 11: “This is a case where an officer of a fairly high rank working under the scheme, has chosen to level allegations of mis utilisation of funds, solely with the object of benefiting members of the ruling party. An officer in service should have enough courage to question the activities of the Government and if his outburst has some relevance on the foundation of notes contemporaneously made,  then, this Court would be justified in not brushing aside the serious allegations made by an officer of Government, as vindictively laid due to his transfer from the said position”.

Para 16: “Even at the outset, we must state that on perusal of entire material,  an unsavoury impression stands created that the schemes have probably been utilised for scheming to benefit a group of people”.

Para 17: “The subsequent events, which also form part of the note file, placed for our scrutiny, does shock our conscience, for , in spite of R-3 being aware that Bharathiyar Society had not executed the work entrusted to it and if at all the work done would cost only Rs.15000/- or less and that balance of payment should not be made and the Society should be black listed he had ordered forthwith release of Rs.10.5 lakhs. He had also noted that they can write to DRD for further action. There is one more endorsement by R-3, which reads “Please release the cheque”. The note of R-7 (C.Umashankar IAS.,) shows that he inspected the burial ground shed at Alanganallur on 26-9-1995 and found several deviations, which have been listed by him. He had very clearly noted, for the scrutiny of the Collector (R-3) that the ABDO, Alanganallur after getting the estimate from the UE and ADE, had submitted that the value of work done on each burial ground shed was less than Rs.15000/-. Therefore he recommended that the Society may be informed that for the value of work done by them they were eligible for Rs.10.5 lakhs only and not Rs.30 lakhs. Even for submitting U.Cs, they have to submit the M Book entries. The next recommendation was to write to the DRD to black list the Society as it had tried to defraud DRDA, Madurai. When such a serious complaint stood made against the Society  by high ranking officer as R-7, R3 should not have just ordered on the same day for release of Rs.10.5 lakhs without applying his mind. This prima facie, creates a reasonable impression that probably R-3 was being remotely controlled by some agency. The argument of Learned Advocate General that subsequently, payment was stopped, after transfer of R-7 from the post he was then occupying, cannot help, for it is fairly evident that R-7 had gone to the Central Administrative Tribunal, making certain allegation about the manner in which the funds were being misutilised and since he was not in  a position to fall in line with the extraneous instruction, he was vindictively transferred from the post he was occupying. On the note made by R-7 we would have expected the Collector to stop payment and have a verification done before any further orders could be passed. That the report made by R-7 must prima facie be correct is further confirmed by his inspection at uthangudi village, after he was ordered to be transferred. He was accompanied by the concerned Engineers and it was noticed by him that there was neither foundation, nor brick work or sand filling etc.,   as he had stated even earlier. The entire burial ground, according to him can be dismantled within 45 minutes and installed elsewhere without difficulty. The value of work done was only to the extent of Rs.14000/- The reports of R-7 are based on statistical details furnished by Engineers concerned. This is not a matter, which could have been so slightly ignored by R-3”.

Para 18: “The complaint is against R-7 (C.Umashankar IAS.,) for not permitting party functionaries to do works and one of the letters indicates that in Sellampatti Panchayat union certain percentage of work usually stood allotted to the Members of Legislative Assembly and the party secretary of the Panchayat union. Hence the claim of R-7 which has been brought out by the petitioner in this public interest litigation that an unwritten rule existed for allotment of work cannot at all be ignored”.

Para 19: “After the order for release of further payment was made by the Collector on 16-10-1995, R-7 (C.Umashankar IAS.,) has made a note on 18-10-95, which is rather revealing. He has given his reason for rejecting payment of Rs.10.5 lakhs to Bharathiyar Society. He has further added that the District Panchayat cannot afford to lose Rs.10.5 lakhs unnecessarily”.

Para 19: “The note further reads that under the above circumstances in which the Secretary RD. and the Minister for LA have shown extra ordinary interest in getting the payment of money and getting additional orders for the Society, he (R-7) was of the opinion that if they make the final payment when only half the value of work had been done, both of them (R-3 an R-7) will land in serious trouble in future. In the end R-7 has stated that the Society had not performed the work according to the estimate and the Collector may reconsider his direction for making payment. More and more we read the contents of the note file, the greater is the shock experienced by us. These contemporaneous records could not have been made on total emptiness, unless there was some basis for the same. There cannot be smoke without fire”.

“Para 22: We are prima facie of the opinion, that in the guise of helping the rural poor, certain societies selected by the Government, were virtually favoured with contracts, be it under pressure or under unwritten code, totally overlooking the poor in the district concerned, who are expected to be benefited from this scheme. It is no answer to state that the members of these societies are also poor artisans, for local artisans should have to be utilised under the scheme in their own districts. It is further evident that the State Government had passed orders for purchase of steel doors and centring materials, from named co-operative societies, which , in effect deny utilisation of local labour and available local material. If the Government chosen societies stand underlined, what is the discretion left to the local authorities to follow the salient principles of the Scheme? Does it not appear that they have to sign on dotted lines? An indelible impression stands struck in our minds, that all is not well in the functioning of the schemes and moneys intended for the poorest of the poor, probably are diverted to those select few who, of course, do not deserve it”.

 Para 23: “Since he material stated by us above prima facie shows, probable involvement of hierarchy of high-ranking officers and probably higher ups as well, we are of the opinion that investigation about the working of JRY scheme in Madurai district should be conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation”.

 

 

Download the excerpts from the Judgement in pdf

_______________________________________

http://sugame.com/umashankar (Details about Cremation Sheds Scam is here)

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The draft of the Whistleblower Act by Human Rights Law Network

Posted by ekavi on July 13, 2006

The draft of the Whistleblower bill prepared by Jai singh Sekhopuria, of the Human Rights Law Network.

Whistleblowers Bill, 2006 Nature of the Act

 

 

1. Short title This Act may be called as the Whistleblowers Bill, 2006

2. Commencement
Section 1 and this section commence on the day on which this Act receives the assent of the Parliament.

3. Objects of this Act:
The objects of this Act are to:

(a) To fight corruption and thereby encourage honest upright citizens of this nation to come forward and make public interest disclosures.

(b) To support the principle of public interest disclosure and safeguard rights of persons who make public interest disclosures including rights guaranteed under the constitution of India;

(c) Provide a framework within which public interest disclosures will be independently and rigorously dealt with;

(d) Provide a framework within which persons who make a public interest disclosure will be protected.

 


4. Act generally binding
This Act binds all persons inter alia working in or a member of a public, private and semi-private concerns or any other organization. In other words, this act covers every individual(s) who is/are working in a public company, private company, joint venture of a government and a private company, or any other organization. This Act also covers disclosures made against any foreign/international organizations provided that the same is in public interest.

Interpretation
5. Definitions
A company means a company formed and registered under the companies’ act of 1956.

Confidential information means: (a) information about the identity, occupation or whereabouts of a person who has made a public interest disclosure or against whom a public interest disclosure has been made; or
(b) information contained in a public interest disclosure; or
(c) information concerning an individuals personal affairs; or
(d) information that, if disclosed, may cause detriment to a person.

Damages refers either to the harm suffered by a Whistleblower as a result of making the public interest disclosure, or to the money paid or awarded to the Whistleblower in compensation for such harm suffered by him.

Conduct is to be taken to be disclosable if:
(a) it is of a type referred to in subsection (2); and
(b) it would, if proven, constitute:
(i) a criminal offence; or
(ii) an offence relating to public health and safety; or
(iii) an offence relating to environment; or
(iv) an offence relating to public wastage; or
(v) any other offence that is or would be or is likely to be detrimental to public interest.

For the purposes of sub-section (a), the following types of conduct are disclosable:
(a) conduct of a person that adversely affects, or could adversely affect, either directly or indirectly, the honest or impartial performance of official functions by a person;

(b) conduct of a person which amounts to the performance of any of his or her official functions dishonestly or with partiality;

(c) conduct of a person, including a former employee or an agency that amounts to a breach of public trust;

(d) conduct of a public official, a former public official or an agency that amounts to the misuse of information or material acquired in the course of the performance of official functions (whether for the benefit of that person or agency or otherwise);

(e) conduct of a public official of a kind that amounts to mal- administration which is action or inaction of a serious nature that is:
(i) contrary to law; or
(ii)unreasonable, unjust, oppressive or improperly discriminatory; or
(iii) based wholly or partly on improper motives;
(f) a conspiracy or attempt to engage in conduct referred to in paragraphs (a) to (e) (inclusive).

A joint venture (often abbreviated JV) is a strategic alliance between two or more parties to undertake economic activity together.

An organization is a formal group of people with one or more shared goals.

Persons mean a human being or a corporation treated as having the rights and obligations of a person.

Private would be something of someone’s own personal importance or something which would affect one’s individual life or right to life.

A private company as defined by the Companies Act, 1956 is a company which has a minimum pad up capial of 1 lakh rupees or a higher amount as fixed by the articles, restricts the right to transfer shares if any, has maximum of 50 members, does not invite the public for any investment in the form of buying the shares or debentures of a company.
Public is of or pertaining to the people; belonging to the people; relating to, or affecting, a nation, state, or community; opposed to private. Public herein also includes the people of a nation not affiliated with the government of that nation.
A public company as defined by the Companies Act, 1956 such a company that is not a private company, has a minimum paid up capital of 5 lakh rupees or more as fixed by the articles, is a private company which is a subsidiary of a company which is not a private company.

A public interest disclosure means a disclosure of information that the person making the disclosure believes on reasonable grounds tends to show:

(a) that another person has engaged, is engaging, or proposes to engage, in disclosable conduct; or

(b) public wastage; or

(c) conduct involving substantial risk to the environment; or

(d) conduct involving substantial risk to public health; or

(e) that a person has engaged, is engaging, or proposes to engage, in an unlawful reprisal;

(f) any other conduct that that is or would be or is likely to be detrimental to public interest.

Public wastage means conduct by a public official that amounts to negligent, incompetent or inefficient management within, or of, an agency resulting, or likely to result, directly or indirectly, in a substantial waste of public funds, other than conduct necessary to give effect to a law of the State.

A semi-private concern is a concern, which is neither completely public nor completely private but has clashing interests of both the organs and its work affects both.

A Tort is a civil wrong for which the remedy is damages or compensation and for which civil proceedings may be carried out.

An unlawful reprisal means a conduct that causes, or threatens to cause, detriment:
(a) to a person directly because a person has made, or may make, a public interest disclosure; or

(b) to a person directly because he or she has resisted attempts by another person to involve him or her in the commission of an offence.

A Whistleblower is a person who makes a public interest disclosure reporting misconduct to the concerned authority as provided by the Act.

Disclosures
6. Public interest disclosure
(1) Any person may make a public interest disclosure to an appropriate authority.
(2) Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), a person may make a public interest disclosure, if he feels:
(a) that a criminal offence has been committed, is being committed or is likely to be committed,
(b) that a person has failed, is failing or is likely to fail to comply with any legal obligation to which he is subject,
(c) that a miscarriage of justice has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur,
(d) that the health or safety of any individual has been, is being or is likely to be endangered,
(e) that the environment has been, is being or is likely to be damaged, or
(f) that information tending to show any matter falling within any one of the preceding paragraphs has been, is being or is likely to be deliberately concealed
(3) Such disclosures are to be entertained which if not made would result in mass damage to the public interest.
Provided that:
(4) the disclosures so made should not be out of personal vendetta.
(5) the disclosure of information can be made by an employee of any organization, it may be private or it may be public or could be a joint venture as well, but the disclosure of information should always be in the interest of the public.
Procedure and Reporting
7. Procedure for making Public Interest Disclosure before the appropriate authority:
(1) The State Government may, by notification in Official Gazette, constitute for every State, specified in the notification, an appropriate authority for exercising the powers and discharge the duties conferred on such authorities in relation to public disclosures made by whistleblowers and for the protection of the whistleblower under this Act.
(2) The Authority shall consist of a Chairperson and four other members as the State Government may think fit to appoint, who shall be experts on matters concerning whistleblowers.
(3) The qualifications of the Chairperson and the members, and the tenure for which they may be appointed shall be such as may be prescribed.
(4) The appointment of any member of the Committee may be terminated, after holding inquiry, by the State Government, if-
i. he has been found guilty of misuse of power vested under this Act;
ii. he has been convicted of an offence involving moral turpitude, and such conviction has not been reversed or he has not been granted full pardon in respect of such offence;
iii. he fails to attend the proceedings of the Committee for consecutive three months without any valid reason or he fails to attend less than three-fourth of the sittings in a year.
(5) The Committee shall function as a Bench of Magistrates and shall have the powers conferred by the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) on a Metropolitan Magistrate or, as the case may be, a Judicial Magistrate of the first class.
Any appeal against the findings of the said authority will be made in the High Court of the Supreme Court and the mater should be heard within three days of filing of the appeal.
(6) For the purpose of Section 7:
(1) Before being nominated as members of the Authority the members including the Chairperson shall fully disclose all their assets.
(2) The Authority shall investigate into the public interest disclosure within 60 days of making the public interest disclosure.
(3) Upon completion, if the appropriate authority finds that the disclosure made is true and correct, the authority shall have the power to immediately provide protection to the whistleblower and the family of the whistle blower.

8. Progress report
(1) A person who makes a public interest disclosure to the Authority may request the Authority to which the disclosure was made or referred to provide a progress report.
(2) Where a request is made under subsection (1), the proper authority to which it is made shall provide a progress report to the person or authority who requested it:
(a) as soon as practicable after receipt of the request; and
(b) if the Authority takes further action with respect to the disclosure after providing a progress report under paragraph (a):
(i) while the authority is taking action—at least once in every 20 days period commencing on the date of provision of the report under paragraph (a); and
(ii) on completion of the action.
(3) A progress report provided under subsection (2) must contain the following particulars with respect to the proper authority that provides the report:
(a) where the authority has declined to act on the public interest disclosure—that it has declined to act and the ground on which it so declined;
(b) where the authority has referred the public interest disclosure to an independent investigating agency—that it has referred the disclosure to an independent investigating agency and the name of the agency to which the disclosure has been referred;
(c) where the authority has accepted the public interest disclosure for investigation—the current status of the investigation;
(d) where the authority has accepted the public interest disclosure for investigation and the investigation is complete—its findings and any action it has taken or proposes to take as a result of its findings.
(4) Nothing in this section prevents the Authority from providing a progress report in accordance with subsection (3) to a person who may make a request under subsection (1).

Protection offered by the Act
9. Protection of Public Interest Disclosure and persons making the Public Interest disclosure:
Liability:
(1) A person is not liable, civilly, criminally or under an administrative process, for making a public interest disclosure.
(2) Without limiting subsection (1)—
(a) in a proceeding for defamation the person has a defence of absolute privilege for publishing the disclosed information; and
(b) if the person would otherwise be required to maintain confidentiality about the disclosed information under an Act, oath, rule of law or practice or policy the person—
(i) does not contravene the Act, oath, rule of law or practice or policy for making the disclosure; and
(ii) is not liable to disciplinary action for making the disclosure.
(3) This section requires that the inquiry is ‘not to be open to public’ and that the ‘names of the persons making the disclosure and of the person(s) named in the disclosure” shall not be disclosed to the public.

(4) Police Protection
The whistleblower and his family shall be entitled to police protection if the disclosure is of such nature that the disclosure may cause or is likely to cause harm to the Whistleblowers life or property.

For the purpose of the above section it is necessary that the police assigned with the abovementioned responsibility shall be officers specifically trained in the issue of whistleblowers. Persons who are experts in the field of whistleblowers will conduct the training.

Provided that prior to assigning the abovementioned task the concerned police officers shall fully disclose their assets to the members of the appropriate authority.

(5) Relocation of employees (1) Subject to sections 10 and 11 this section gives a right to appeal for the relocation of the Whistleblower.

(2) The appeal must be made on the ground that:

(a) it is likely a reprisal will be taken against the Whistleblower if he continues in the existing work location; and
(b) the only practical way to remove or substantially remove the danger is to relocate the Whistleblower.

(3) The appeal may be made to the Authority by the Whistleblower.

Discrimination 10. Discrimination against Whistleblowers Prohibited: –
It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge, demote, suspend, reprimand, or take any other action that in any manner discriminates against any Whistleblower, or to threaten or recommend the discharge, demotion, suspension, reprimand or other any other action that in any manner discriminates against any Whistleblower.
Reprisals
11. Reprisal-unlawful and grounds for reprisal
(1) A person must not cause, or attempt or conspire to cause, detriment to another person because, or in the belief that, anybody has made, or may make, a public interest disclosure.
(2) An attempt to cause detriment includes an attempt to induce a person to cause detriment.
(3) A contravention of subsection (1) is a reprisal or the taking of a reprisal.
(4) A ground mentioned in subsection (1) as the ground for a reprisal is the unlawful ground for the reprisal.
(5) For the contravention to happen, it is sufficient if the unlawful ground is a substantial ground for the act or omission that is the reprisal, even if there is another ground for the act or omission.
11A. Damages entitlement for reprisal
(1) A reprisal is a tort and a person who takes a reprisal is liable in damages to anyone who suffers detriment as a result.
(2) Any appropriate remedy that may be granted by the Auhtority for a tort may be granted by the Auhtority for the taking of a reprisal.

11B. Application for injunction or order
An application for an injunction may be filed either before the District Court or High Court or the Supreme Court:
(a) by a person claiming that he or she is suffering or may suffer detriment from an unlawful reprisal; or
(b) by the Auhtority on behalf of a person referred to in paragraph (a).

Disclosures have to be confidential
12.Confidentiality
(1) the Authority will not willfully disclose to any person, confidential information gained through the Authorities involvement in the administration of this Act.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a member of the Authority who makes a record of, or discloses, confidential information for the purposes of a proceeding in a court or tribunal.

Provided that subject to the conditions laid down in section 20 sub- section 2, if any disclosure is made to any person other than the person making the disclosure, during the investigation carried out in respect to the Public interest Disclosure, the members of the Authority, including the Chairperson shall be criminally liable for breach of (professional code of conduct or trust) and the principle of Strict Liability shall be applicable.

Liability of the persons making the disclosures
13. Limitation of liability
(1) A person is not subject to any liability for making a public interest disclosure or providing any further information in relation to the disclosure to a proper authority investigating it, and no action, claim or demand may be taken or made of or against the person for making the disclosure or providing the further information.
(2) Without limiting subsection (1), a person:
(a) does not commit an offence under a provision of an Act which imposes a duty to maintain confidentiality with respect to a matter; and
(b) does not breach an obligation by way of oath or rule of law or practice requiring him or her to maintain confidentiality with respect to a matter; by reason only that the person has made a public interest disclosure with respect to that matter to a proper authority.
(3) Without limiting subsection (1), in proceedings for defamation there is a defence of absolute privilege in respect of the making of a public interest disclosure, or the provision of further information in relation to a public interest disclosure, to a proper authority.

(4) Liability of person disclosing
A person’s liability for his or her own conduct is not affected by the person’s disclosure of that conduct in a public interest disclosure.

Posted in WB Act Draft and Discussions | 7 Comments »