Thursday, 22 April, 2010

2 MCD officials held for threatening RTI applicant

Note from the Organizers:

On the 13th of March, The YP Foundation hosted an inter-generational RTI forum for young people at the India Habitat Center, in partnership with UNDP, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, SPIL and Governance Now. The forum looked at where the RTI movement in India stood, the work that people had done collectively and examined what young people had to critically focus at this point and time, to be able take the movement forward.

As part of the discussions of the forum, Mohit Sharma, a participant, shared his concerns with the audience on threats he said he had received from the MCD, in response to filing an RTI Application concerning illegal construction work in Shahdara. In a conversation with Mr. Wajahat Habibullah, Chief Information Commissioner, who was present at the panel, the CIC promised to be look into the matter. We are extremely happy to report from the Times of India report pasted below, that the CIC seems to have followed up on their word! On behalf of all of us present at the forum, we'd like to thank the CIC, Mr. Habibullah and Mr. Shailesh Gandhi for keeping their word.

In Solidarity,

The YP Foundation


2 MCD officials held for threatening RTI applicant

Dwaipayan Ghosh, TNN, Apr 21, 2010, 01.20am IST

NEW DELHI: Two MCD engineers have been arrested in northeast district after they allegedly threatened an activist who had filed an RTI application seeking details of illegal construction in Shahdara (North).

"We have arrested the engineers — assistant engineer Umesh Singh and executive engineer B M N Rao. Our investigation revealed the two had gone to the house of the complainant in Dilshad Garden and threatened him. The third accused — junior engineer Hari Singh — is yet to be arrested. We have certain leads and will arrest him soon," said S S Yadav, DCP (northeast).

The arrests came after the victim approached the information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, seeking help when the local police did not take him seriously. Incidentally, a few policemen from the area were recently suspended by senior officers after they allegedly helped a trader kill his maid in Ghaziabad. Sources said when the activist approached Gandhi, the local policemen feared action against them and some progress was made in the case.

Mohit Sharma, 33, had filed an RTI application seeking information from the MCD on unauthorized constructions in Shahdara (north). Instead of furnishing the details, MCD engineers tried to put pressure on him to back out. When Sharma refused to comply, they landed at his house and threatened him with "dire consequences".

Sharma complained about the engineers at the Seemapuri police station but he got no relief. Sources said that when Ghandi came to know about Sharma’s struggle, he wrote a letter to police commissioner Y S Dadwal. In his letter, he urged the police chief to look into the matter. A few days later a case was registered against the accused.

According to the FIR, Umesh had threatened Sharma directly. "You are too young to play such dangerous games. It is like playing with fire," he reportedly told the activist. "Umesh also told me that no one can survive after clashing with MCD officials. I will demolish your home" claimed Sharma in his complaint.

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