Ramesh Pattnaik: Martyr in the battle against exploitation in Samaja

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

As has already been shown, the history of Samaja under Servants of the People Society (SoPS) is a history of treachery, forgery and scourgery.

This write-up will narrate how a low paid employee of Samaja namely Ramesh Chandra Pattnaik breathed his last in a long fight for justice on the battle field of Law that spanned from a labor office at Cuttack to the Supreme Court at New Delhi, as his mighty employer, after having illegally dismissed him, had misused media power to obstruct adjudication of his dispute under the Industrial Disputes Act and yet again had foiled the relief granted to him by the lowest Civil Court, Cuttack by using the forum of the High Court of Orissa.

If anything, he is a martyr amongst the workers in the battle for justice in the ramparts of Law.

Anti-worker I.D.Act

bijubabu watchig scpTwo and half decades ago, I had set fire to Industrial Disputes Act in front of the Orissa Legislative Assembly when it was in session, to shock-awake the State Government to the need of reference of a case of dismissal of a Journalist (Vevekanand Dash) to the Industrial Tribunal. His powerful employer being the son-in-law of the Chief Minister of that time, the Minister of Labor had blocked the reference taking advantage of a provision in this Act that no industrial dispute raised by a worker can be taken into cognizance by a labor Court or Industrial Tribunal, despite Conciliation Officer’s recommendation, unless the State Government refers the dispute for adjudication. The then Leader of Opposition Biju Patnaik had witnessed my action, but as he also belonged to the class of exploiters, kept mum in the Assembly over the anti-worker provision in the I.D.Act.

Ramesh Pattnaik was the first victim of this provision in Orissa.

Rath and the rule of terror

Radhanath Rath, whom an anti-people Government had decorated with Padma Bhusan, was running a rule of terror in the Samaja organization. He was a ruthless oppressor and to him, the Samaja employees were just like subjects in a fiefdom. He was hiring and firing them as he liked. He was deriving a sadistic pleasure by keeping the employees intimidated. He had promulgated a standing order not by signing the same with the employees, but with an outsider behind back of the employees. He had ruined the employees’ collective morale to such extent that their trade union was accepting his hegemony in its affairs without any objection. We see trade union activism has grown amongst employees of Samaja only after demise of Rath. This speaks volumes of how Rath had kept the employees intimidated constantly.

And to keep the employee constantly intimidated, he was subjecting them to unfair labor practices as he liked. An example of his whimsical action was Ramesh Chandra Pattnaik.

He was, all on a sudden, given the shock of suspension on 9 April 1969. Rath was expecting that he would go and fall at his feet praying for withdrawal of the suspension order. He could have derived a sadistic pleasure from that. But, instead of falling at his feet, Ramesh preferred a complaint before the Labor officer. He was dismissed from service on 4 July 1969 under prevention of a domestic enquiry having found him guilty of charges framed against him.

Denial of reference under I.D.Act

Pattnaik challenged the illegal order of dismissal before the Labor Officer. Due to non-cooperation of management the conciliation failed.The Conciliation officer sent the failure report to the higher authorities with his recommendation for adjudication. But Rath used his tremendous media power to get the recommendation of the labor law implementation authorities rejected on 5 March 1070.

Browbeating the Civil Court

Ramesh knew of the design and understood that unless the government refers his dispute for adjudication, the Labor Court/Tribunal shall take no cognizance of his case. Therefore he had, without any prejudice to his industrial dispute, invoked the Civil Court jurisdictions on 14 Nov 1969 for declaration that the termination of his service was null and void and that he continued to be in service despite the order of dismissal and was entitled to the emoluments for the period subsequent to the date of dismissal.

In order to browbeat the Civil Court, heavyweight advocates were engaged to oppose the civil case under the plea that Pattnaik being an industrial worker, the Civil Court had no jurisdiction to entertain his case. The Munsif (Presiding Officer of the lowest Civil Court) in his order dated 12 Dec 1974 rejected the management plea and ordered that the suit was maintainable in his Court. He further declared that natural justice was denied to Pattnaik before dismissing him. But, surprisingly he refused to give him the relief sought for, interpreting employment of Pattnaik in Samaja as a contract of personal service.

Law is a conundrum and judges are not punished for wrong interpretations of law.

Appeal and after

Severely disadvantaged by the Munsif’s order that dismissed his suit despite finding how natural justice was denied to the him, Pattnaik approached the First Appellate Court who by its order on 17 Oct 1974 remanded the case to the Munsif with instructions to record findings on the additional issues to be framed consequent upon the amendment of plaint.

Hearing the case afresh, the Munsif said that Pattnaik was entitled to a decree of Rs.852.70 as compensation for “wrongful dismissal” and he was also entitled to pendent lite and future compensation at the rate of Rs.165 per month until he attends the age of 60 years or until his death whichever is earlier. But shockingly. the said Munisif rejected Patnaik’s claim for incremental pay, gratuity and bonus.

Pattnaik moved the Appellate Court again against this later part of the Munsif’s order whereas the management filed cross objections to the Munsif’s finding that the dismissal was “wrongful”.

The First Appellate Court dismissed the management’s cross objections and confirmed that Pattnaik’s dismissal was wrongful.

Rejecting the Munsif’s earlier observation that Pattnaik’s employment in Samaja was a matter of a contract of personal service, the First Appellate Court held that, his service had already acquired “a statutory status” by virtue of his conditions of service being governed by the Standing Orders. The AC therefore ruled that the dismissal of Pattnaik was contrary to law and he was entitled to the emoluments of the service since his dismissal till reinstatement, as his service shall not be treated as broken.

Samaja dragged the matter to High Court

An ideal employer should have seen his own fault in the mirror of the concurrent findings of both the courts that Pattnaik’s dismissal was wrongful and could have amended its wrong steps. But Rath was too anti-worker to honor the judicial wisdom that went in favor of the workman. He took the case to the High Court of Orissa, by using the SoPS. Biswanth Das and Others Vs Ramesh Chandra Patnaik and Another commenced.

The illegal occupiers of Samaja did not challenge the concurrent finding of both the Civil Courts that the order of dismissal of Pattnaik was wrongful inasmuch as it was made in violation of the principles of natural justice as well as the standing orders; but they challenged the Appellate Court’s orders that Pattnaik be treated as in continuous service with emoluments from the date of dismissal.

While thus admitting that their action against Pattnaik was “wrongful”, the wrong-doers told the High Court that once having invoked the conciliation power of the labor officer, the wrongly dismissed workman had no right to move the Civil Court. A single judge bench of the High Court relied upon another single judge verdict to say that, the wrongfully dismissed workman had no right to move the Civil Court, even though the State Government had blocked his right to be heard in the Industrial Tribunal. This judgment was delivered on August 9, 1978.

Ah! August 9 !

Ah! August 9, the day the poor exploited population of India had added their strength to Gandhi’s voice to give the ‘Quit India’ call to the British! What irony! A poor worker’s case was rejected by the State Government to be referred to the Industrial Tribunal for adjudication and the High Court nullified the relief given to him in the Civil Court by saying that the industrial adjudication was the only avenue available to him for redress of the wrong done to him, in the circumstance of the case, even though the I.D.Act says, no Labor Court or Industrial Tribunal can take cognizance of any industrial dispute unless referred to by the Government. What irony! What a great irony on the day of an anniversary of ‘quit India movement’ that the working class had made a success!

Law is a conundrum

Law is a conundrum and judges are free to interpret the laws and deliver their verdicts as their wisdom dictates, even if that denied justice to the wronged worker.

Heroic death of a Martyr

But the wronged poor man was having an exemplary workman spirit too real to acquiesce into accepting the single judge of the High Court as the last word in Law. He went in appeal to the Supreme Court.

He was physically and financially ruined. He had disposed of ancestral landed properties to sustain his family of six members including two sons and two daughters – all school going – and to meet the litigation cost.

Enforced idleness had already put him in slow starvation. Before he got justice in the Supreme Court, he breathed his last.

The great fighter carrying in his body the sufferings and determinations of the working class to overcome the sufferings, and epitomizing the spirit of the working class to fight against exploitation, died a heroic death.

Baton of fight carried by the wife

After his death, his wife Smt. Prasannaa Pattnaik took up the baton of fight from her husband’s funeral pyre and made herself and her children the substitutes for the Appellant in the case before the Supreme Court of India.

The Supreme Court disapproved the judgement of the single judge of the Orissa High Court and passed an order on allowing the appeal of Ramesh Chandra Pattnaik.

This order is very significant. I quote the relevant portion of the judgement below:

“We have heard learned counsels for the parties. During the pendency of this appeal, the workman died. His widow and four children have been brought on record as legal heirs. We are prima facie of the view that the High Court fell into error in reversing the judgment of the first appellate court. It is, however, not necessary for us to go into the merits of the controversy. Keeping in view the facts and circumstances of this case, specifically that the first appellate court granted relief to the workman as back as march 1976, we direct the respondent-management to pay a sum of Rs. two lacs as compensation to the widow of the workman within two months from today”.

It was a moral victory for Ramesh Chandra Pattnaik and his family. It had come to them on 23 January 1996.

January 23 revered in Orissa in matter of her two great sons – Veer Surendra Sai and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, became a day of posthumous victory of the Martyr amongst her working children, Ramesh Chandra Pattnaik.

Fight not over

But the fight against the oppressive management of Samaja is not yet over. Devi Prasanna Nayak, Subash Chandra Singh and others have been fighting for justice to the exploited employees of this this paper even today, and the State Government is continuing to ignore the unfair labor practices and exploitation resorted to by the illegal occupiers of the paper.

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Forgery in Samaj: Former Editor Manorama Mohapatra Cannot Avoid Imprisonment

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Whoever commits forgery, with the intention to use the forged document for the purpose of cheating, “shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine”, mandates Section 468 of Indian Penal Code. In view of this, former member (administration) and Associate Editor of the Samaja Ms. Manorama Mohapatra is bound to be imprisoned with fine.

Her father, Radhanath Rath, who, as editor of the Samaja, had hoodwinked the entire nation to fetch the third highest civilian award – Padmabhusan, had tampered with Gopabandhu’s draft Will that he had taken dictation of, and subsequently had co-manufactured a forged avatar thereof to grab the Samaja. Now it is seen, Manorama has forged the signature of a Sub-Editor of the same paper to cheat him out of his salary dues. Victim of her forgery is Pitambar Mishra on whose debacle the details have been placed in the preceding posting.

UNSARANGI ON SAMAJ UNDER RR Mishra was exploited by Manorama’s father Radhanath Rath for around a decade since 1986. On grabbing the Samaja, Rath had become its de facto owner by transforming the same to a family domain in the guise of Servants of the People Society. If any first hand evidence is required, one may get it from notes of the newspaper’s legendary news-editor – also publisher for many years – the Gandhian in letter and spirit, late lamented Udaynath Sarangi published in his serial write-up, captioned Lauha Paradara Antarale (Behind the Iron Curtain). An excerpt from the first episode, boxed by its publisher ‘Sambad’ is inserted here for all Oriyas to peruse. Roughly translated into English, it reads, “Pt. Gopabandhu has gifted away his institute to the race (of Oriyas). It has acquired the present stature with the help and cooperation of the people of the land. Neither there is investment of a single pie in it from the property of any individual nor has any individual any share in it. Its stature is the result of collective endeavor. It is a national institute. Let the Samaja and the institute (its establishment and Satyabadi Press) be salvaged from the family grip (of Radhanath Rath) and restored as a national property, so that, that would be the most appropriate respect for and preservation of memories of Gopabandhu”.

After exploiting the Samaja as his private property since the death of his collaborator in the forgery of Gopabandhu’s Will under cover of the Servants of the People Society, Rath had most cunningly made his daughter Manorama a member thereof handing her over the reign of the paper. She was made the boss both in administrative and editorial sectors. She was member (Administration) and Associate Editor. The press was being managed and the paper was being edited under her control. She was representing the management in its real sense.

A living symbol of her father’s exploitation, Sub-Editor-cum-News Reporter Pitambar Mishra had raised a dispute before the Labor Laws Implementation Authorities seeking regularization of his services with due amount of wages to which he was entitled under the Wage Board Award for Working Journalists. Rath had recruited him as a News Reporter for Rs. 150/- only per month. After giving him an additional duty to work as a Sub-Editor too, he was paid Rs.250/- per month. No letter of appointment was given to him as per practice of Rath, though he was acting without rest from early morning to late in the night as a journalist in both the areas – as a Sub-Editor as well as a News Reporter. He was one of many such hands in the establishment of the Samaja in the regime of Rath, who was using maximum space of the paper to project himself as a kind and benevolent person! Towards the end of his life, members of SoPS dared to make their presence felt in management of funds of the paper and the iron curtain epitomized by Rath started to crack.

In that confusing situation, SoPS having started to disregard various steps of Rath, Pitambar apprehended that, unless he raises the necessary industrial dispute, his decade old service to the paper may get lost in the labyrinth of managerial chaos.

So, he moved the District Labor Officer to step in. The DLO issued a statutory notice to the management asking why it should not be enforced by Law to regularize the services of Pitambar Mishra.

The management got the notice on 6.9.1997 and the next day on 7.9.1997, the journalist was not allowed to enter into the Samaja premises. The GM orally informed him that his services were no further required.

The DLO entertained conversion of his dispute from a case for regularization of service to a case for reinstatement in service.

Dispute Referred to Labor Court

Consequently, the State Government in the Labor and Emplyment Department referred the matter to the Labor Court, Bhubaneswar for adjudication under Sub-Section (5) of Section 12 read with Clause (ci) of Sub-Section (1) of Section 10 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 vide order No. 15552/LE, dt. 31.12.1998. The term of reference was:

“Whether the termination of services of Sri Pitambar Mishra, Sub-Editor/News reporter by the management of “the Samaj” with effect from 7.9.97 is legal and or justified? If not, to what relief Sri Mishra is entitled?

The Court answered, “the termination of services of Sri Pitambar Mishra, Sub-Editor/News Reporter by the management of “The Samaj” with effect from 7.9.97 is neither legal nor justified”. He was entitled to the relief of reinstatement with back wages”, the Labor Court concluded.

The reference was bound to be answered like this, as the management clearly knew that they have acted absolutely illegal and unjustified in summarily terminating Sri Mishra’s services immediately after receiving the notice of his complaint and no Court would ever approve their action.

Heinous Design

The only way for them to escape was denial of employer-employee relationship with Mishra. For this purpose, they devised a fake agreement with a forged signature of Mishra depicting therein that the relationship between him and the Samaj “is that of Principal to Principal and not that of employer or employee”. And, challenged the maintainability of the reference on this ground.

The so-called agreement was shown to have been signed on the 8th day of June 1995 to stay alive for two years. It means, the said agreement was bound to expire on 7th day of June, 1997. If it was so, how was it that the workman was working, as admitted by the management, till 7th of September 1997? Management’s averments make it clear that, when he was orally informed on 7.9.1997 that his services were not required onwards, the General Manager had not known of the agreement. The said agreement was also not the management’s proof of non-existence of employer-employee relationship when the dispute was under conciliation. Interestingly, when the so-called agreement was dated 8.6.1995, letter No.52/GM/94 dated 28.4.1994 reveals that the workman had already executed that agreement ! How can an office order issued on 28.4.94 speak of a document created on 8.6.95 ? This impossibility became possible only because, none of these two documents is genuine. Both of them were manufactured to harass Journalist Pitambar Mishra. Both of them were backdated and in backdating them by different persons, the dates depicted in both of them had inadvertently been so different.

I am giving below photo copies of relevant portions of these two documents for a comparison.

52:GM:94manufactured agreement

The comparison makes it clear that there is a gap of 14 months between the office order and the agreement. If the the agreement was executed on 8.6.95, how could the office order be pregnant with the same agreement that is dated 28.4.94 ?

How could the order based on the agreement be issued 14 months before the signing of the agreement ?

Manufactured by Manorama

Obviously, none of them was in existence on the relevant days.

They were manufactured by Manorama Mohapatra after the case was registered as Industrial Dispute No.9 of 1999 and proceeded in the Labor Court to the disadvantage of the management. And under the impact of the consequential shenanigans, attempts were made to create the said two backdated documents by two authorities of the management, such as the order dated 28.4.94 by one R.C.Mishra and the agreement dated 8.6.95 by Manorama Mohapatra. Due to lack of coordination in the flow of mala fide intension to teach a lesson to the workman who dared to drag them to the labor Court, the dates of the documents manufactured at their respective cabins became so drastically different.

When the document created by R.C.Mishra on the letterhead of the Samaja on 28.4.94 was meant to deny the workman confirmation in the post of Sub-Editor, the agreement manufactured by Manorama Mohapatra on 8.6.95 was, besides being an instance of use of Indian Stamp Papers for illegal purpose, carried forged signature of the affected workman.

Gene of forgery

Manorama Mohapatra, daughter of Radhanath Rath, who, as shown earlier in these pages, had created a forged avatar of Gopabandhu’s Will to occupy the Samaj, had become a member of SoPS by way of  nepotism and had become Member in charge of administration as well as the de facto Editor of the Samaja under the designation of Associate Editor. She was formerly a class-I officer in College Branch of Orissa Education Service, a Chief Executive of Orissa’s Academy of Letters. Yet, just to cause a poor and low paid employee debarred from getting his due position and wages, she created, sans any qualms, as if she inherits the gene of forgery, the signature of Pitambar Mishra on the said manufactured agreement typed on Indian Stamp Paper.

Disputed signature found forged

From the picture posted above, it is clear that the first attempt having failed, the forgery was done on the second attempt.

But very apt is a verse of ancient Oriya wisdom that says, “Papa Karuthibu Andhara Ghare, Bihi Lekhuthiba Tala Patare” , meaning, even if a sin is perpetrated inside a dark room, God Almighty records it in tamperproof letters like the Oriya people write on palm leafs. Precisely it says, “sin cannot be kept hidden”.

And, science also agrees. Howsoever cleaver be the criminal, he or she leaves behind clues that expose the crime along with its perpetrator, say the criminologists.

The crime of Manorama Mohapatra that she committed by forging the signature of Journalist Pitambar Mishra has been exposed by science.

Let us look again at the above picture.

It is the end portion of the manufactured agreement with the forged signature of Pitambar Mishra. It shows, the first attempt to forge his signature having failed, that has been repeatedly struck-through and then, below that struck-through signature, the signature of Pitambar Mishra has been penned. We shall later see how this signature is forged. But, at the moment, we shall peruse the photo copy of the authentication part of the agreement in question.

Collective Crime

When Pitambar Mishra is shown to have signed for and on behalf of the News Representative constituting the second part of the agreement, Manorama Mohapatra has signed for and on behalf of the Samaj constituting the first part thereof.

Manorama’s then known blue-eyed-boy Brajakishore Das, sub-editor, Samaj, Cuttack has signed as witness No.2 and a designation-less ineligible signature is attributed to witness No.1.

Who took the dictation of the agreement, from whom, where and when; and who typed the agreement was a must to have been written on the body of the agreement typed as it is on Indian Stamp Paper. But this is conspicuous by its absence. So, it is clear that, it is Ms. Manorama Mohapatra who has prepared the agreement on the Stamp Paper and forged Pitambar Mishra’s signature thereon to derail the Industrial Dispute 9/1999 in the Labor Court in order to debar Sri Mishra from getting his position and wages. The two witnesses taken into the scanner, it is a collective crime.

Proof of Forgery

Now let us see, how the signature claimed by Manorama to be of Pitambar Mishra on the body of the manufactured agreement is a forged signature.

When the State Government referred Mishra’s dispute to Labor Court, Bhubaneswar for adjudication, the management of Samaj questioned the maintainability of the dispute by denying employer-employee relationship between them and Mishra. And, in support of their contention, they produced the agreement in question that at Para 8 in page 3 says, “The relationship between the news representative (Pitambar Mishra) and the Samaj is that of Principal to Principal and not that of an employer or employee”.

Pitambar was shocked. He vehemently protested against production of an agreement, which he never had made and signed.

The labor Court did a mistake.

Instead of asking the management to prove that Mishra’s signature was genuine, it  asked the poor, unpaid and jobless workman to prove that his signature was forged !

And, he was asked to deposit a heavy sum of money towards cost of handwriting examination, which was beyond the capability of Mishra to deposit.

So his case was dismissed and the reference was answered in favor of the management.

When the Orissa High Court went through the records, it quashed the order of the Labor Court, directing it to resume the case while not intervening with the Labor Court direction to the workman on cost of his signature examination in the State Handwriting Bureau. Mishra with much difficulty could be able to deposit the cost and the Labor Court sent his disputed signature along with 7 sets of specimen signatures of Pitambar Mishra obtained on seven sheets of paper by him in presence of and witnessed by the Advocate for the management. Mishra’s signature on his application to Chairman, Lok Sevak Mandal (management) dated 12.11.92 as well as his signature on his application to the same authority on 4.5.94, which were admitted by the management to be genuine signatures of Mishra received by them, were also sent as admitted signatures of the workman to the State Handwriting Bureau in Crime Investigation Department (CID), Crime Branch (CB) of Orissa Police, Rasulgarh, Bhubaneswar, vide letter No.1615/LC dt. 25.9.2010. The specimen signatures taken on 7 sheets were marked S-1, S-2, S-3, S-4, S-5, S-6 and S-7, where as the signature on his application dated 12.11.92 was marked S-8 and the one on his application dated 4.5.94 was marked S-9. The disputed signature on agreement dated 8.6.95 was marked X-1. The ‘Government Examiner of Questioned Documents’ in the HWB was asked to examine and tell “whether the person who wrote S-1 to S-9, also wrote the signature marked X-1”.

On careful and thorough examination of “the documents in original from all angles of handwriting identification with the help of scientific aids under suitable condition”, the Examiner reported that, “Both the sets of signatures (Specimen and admitted signatures marked S-1 to S-9 and the disputed signature Marked X-1) differ in their general writing habit such as skill, speed, movement, line quality, size and proportion of letters etc” and declared that “The disputed signature marked X-1 contain hesitation, pen stop at unnatural places, slow drawn movement, poor line quality etc, which are the symptoms of forgery found present in the disputed signature”. Here below is the photo copy of the conclusive observation of the Examiner of Questioned Documents.

CONCLUSIVE PART

Opinion of the Handwriting Bureau Authority that establishes that Pitambar Mishra’s signature was forged on the body of the agreement dated 8.6.1995, which was manufactured by Ms. Manorama Mohapatra for and on behalf of the management, is also given below:

opinion of handwriting bureau

Raising fictitious grounds to delay the proceedings in the Labor Court, the management had filed a petition there, praying for sending another signature for examination. That was rightly rejected, in view of the fact that the disputed signature was proved as forged signature on scientific examination by the State Handwriting Bureau and the examiner, as C.W.1, had already been cross examined by the management wherein nothing was made out to show any defect in the examination of the signature and the report of HWB.

The management had then wanted to recall the Handwriting expert for fresh cross examination. But the management withdrew the same petition pleading pendency of a case it had preferred in the High Court on the same subject. The said case of the management failed in the the High Court, with the Judge concluding that, in rejecting the petition of the Samaj for sending the signature again to the Handwriting Expert the labor Court had neither committed any irregularity nor illegality.

Thus, it is established that, the Samaj management has forged the signature of Pitambar Mishra on the body of a manufactured agreement in order to deny him his legitimate position and wages by derailing the judicial process.

Criminal Negligence by Police

Sri Mishra filed FIR in the Cantonment Police Station on 20.7.2011 seeking action against the forgery. As he was not furnished with a copy thereof, he resubmitted the FIR to Deputy Commissioner of Police, Cuttack, by Speed post on 25.7.2011. Tracking records shows that the same was delivered to the DCP on 26.7.2011.

But the Police is yet to come out of its cocoon of criminal negligence. If not, law shall force it to act.

Finally, Jail

Then what would happen to Manorama Mahapatra? Unless Pitambar Mishra, her victim, shows her mercy, she cannot avoid imprisonment in view of the provision of IPC quoted at the beginning. So also the two fellows who have authenticated the forged signature as genuine by signing as witnesses. And, another fellow, under whose instigation the forgery is understood to have been committed and who had, as the lone management witness, deposed under oath that the questioned signature was the genuine signature of Pitambar Mishra, will also be prosecuted and jailed, because the signature he had shown as genuine signature of Pitambar Mishra, has been proved to be forged on the basis of scientific examination in the Handwriting Bureau. That fellow is Chaudhury Sangram Keshari Mishra, whom the Samaj management  has, for his litigant mischief and anti-labor habit, rewarded with unending pay packages from the funds that the workmen so laboriously generate for the newspaper. Under wrong and mischivious advice of such fellows, the iconic newspaper of Orissa, co-founded by the immortal humanitarian leader Utkalmani Pandit Gopabandhu Das, has become a scheming exploiter of workers and has generated scores of Industrial disputes, where it has never won, but always failed.

We have got Gopabandhu’s Signed and Probated Will: Forgery by Radhanath Rath and Lingaraj Mishra established; State must salvage the Samaja from SoPS

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
We had been trying to find the proof of forgery committed by Radhanath Rath and Lingaraj Mishra to grab the Samaja under cover of the Servants of the People Society (SoPS) and how this society has no legitimacy to keep the Samaja under its occupation.

Finally we have got the proof.

In various articles, specifically the one captioned ‘Samaja in Maze of Forgery’  we had juxtaposed Pandit Nilakantha Das’ eye witness accounts with Prof. Sreeram Chandra Dash’s hearsay narration on writing of Gopabamdhu’s Will.

When, according to Pt. Nilakantha, the Will was written by Radhanath Rath to dictation of Gopabandhu, according to the narration of Prof. Dash – admittedly guided by Radhanath Rath, who had refused Prof. Nityananda Satapathy the access to Gopabandhu’s records under his disposal – Lingaraj Mishra had taken the dictation.

This difference was putting a stymie on my conclusion. This stymie is now removed as we have got, after year long pursuit, the original Will of Gopabandhu signed by him and duly probated.

This original Will makes it clear that Lingaraj Mishra, as claimed by Prof. Dash, had written the Will on which Gopabandhu had put his signature. But there is half truth in Prof. Dash’s narration. On juxtaposing Pt. Nilakantha and Prof. Dash together with the body of Gopabandhu’s signed Will, I am sure that Rath had taken dictation of the draft, from which Lingaraj had made the fair copy and Gopabandhu had signed that fair copy even with expansion of his instructions.

I will elaborate.

The draft dictated by Gopabandhu to his employee Radhanath Rath had ended in 8 Paragraphs.

This 8th paragraph was a single-sentenced declaratory paragraph.

It read, “Babu Jagabandhu Singh, Babu Banamali Das, Pandit Nilakantha Das, Babu Harihar Das and Babu Lingaraj Mishra are appointed hereby as executors of this Will”. Below this sentence, Gopabandhu had put his signature.

But thereafter, it occurred to him that he should make some addition, specifically in favor of his second daughter and her children.

So, he asked Lingaraj to write down his extra instructions on the very same fair copy and thus, to his dictation, Lingaraj had written down rest of the Will. In doing so he had tried to insert the dictation between the last line of Para 8 and the signature of Gopabandhu.
But the insertion could not be compressed into the available space between Para 8 and Gopabandhu’s signature.

Will_Original_Para 8
It had begun as a continuation to Para 8, but had to jump the signature due to want of space.

So, atop the signature, one finds the words:
“The executors are authorized to make cash contribution of rupees five hundred for purchase of land for my second daughter Kirtimayee and the” and beneath the signature, the rest that reads: “Estate shall bear all the educational expenses of this poor second daughter’s children”.

And, then we find Para 9 that Gopabandhu had dictated to Lingaraj on body of the fair copy of the WILL, as otherwise he could not have signed below Para 9 also.

This is why, even though up to Para 8 in the original draft, Gopabandhu had given the dictation to Radhanath Rath, in view of the fair copy produced by Lingaraj from the draft as given to him by Radhanath, and writing of the last portion in addition thereto as dictated to him by Gopabandhu, it is generally accepted that Lingaraj Mishra had written the WILL to dictation of Gopabandhu.

As I have already revealed earlier, Radhanath Rath had shrewdly inserted a sentence in Para 6 for his own benefit before handing over the draft to Lingaraj for fair copy thereof for Gopabandhu’s signature. The sentence was a mismatch and interpolation; but the same had gone into the fair copy by the “easygoing” Lingaraj and had escaped attention of Gopabandhu as he was unable to keep his composure intact under pangs of sharply approaching death. In his letter to Lala Lajpat Rai on 23.12.1927, Gopabandhu had described Lingaraj as a man who was “a bit of easygoing nature” and had “not much initiative and imagination”. Radhanth had taken advantage of this nature of Lingaraj and after interpolating the original draft with his self-centric sentence: “I had a mind to take Babu Radhanath Rath as my assistant under the Servants of the People Society, shortly”, had succeeded in getting the same carried in the fair copy of the Will prepared by Lingaraj. Lest the interpolation gets exposed, he kept draft he had taken dictation of  hidden from public gaze and refused Prof. Satapathy access thereto.

Rath, however, had preserved his handwritten draft under his personal custody; because his son Prof. Nilakantha Rath, as admitted in his publication ‘Dasa Apanenka Chithipatra’ had seen the same in his possession, before it went “missing”.

However, though this interpolated self-centric sentence in Para 6 was intact in the probated Will, both of them – Radhanath Rath and Lingaraj Mishra – found that Para 7 thereof would be disadvantageous for them to grab the Samaja.

Therefore, a new draft was made in the hand of Lingaraj amending the Para 7 to suit their nefarious purpose.

This draft got typed on which an affidavit was made before the Sheristadar of the District Court, Cuttack showing the same as true copy of Gopabandhu’s Will.

As I have already shown, Rath was in constant fear that the said affidavit may someday face a challenge. So, he tried to get a ‘Certified True Copy’ of the probated copy of the Will from the District Judge Office, Cuttack, from the text thereof recorded in the register of probate. His purpose was to generate a copy with the language of the forged Will he and Mishra had created with the help of the Sheristadar, to cheat the State and the public. This was to be done by tampering with the text of the probated Will at the typing stage through a gained over typist. And, the gained over typist had done the typing accordingly. But the evil design was foiled when the the officer, who compared the typed copy with the Register before certification, spotted the mischief.

The typist was forced to apply white paint on the altered text, which was exactly the text of the forged Will and to retype thereon the correct text of the original Will. This is its photocopy:-

WILL_Probated_aborted attempt to alter the text copy
Though, thus, this attempt to tamper with the original text of the Will failed, the very endeavor to tamper with the text establishes the criminality of Rath as well as SoPS that has never tried to obtain the ‘Certified True Copy’ of the Will from the office of probate or the District Judge Office where the original Will is preserved, but has all along used the forged Will created by Radhanath Rath and Lingaraj Mishra through the Sheristadar of the District Judge, Cuttack.

It is now the responsibility of the State Government to book the SoPS for the offense of using a forged Will of Gopabandhu to occupy the Samaja, the iconic newspaper of Orissa and for having embezzled hundreds of crores of rupees of the Samaja without any authority and legitimacy.

Radhanath Rath and Lingaraj Mishra need be subjected to posthumous prosecution for the crime they have committed.

The State must take over the paper and offer it to its employees to manage it, because it is the workers who have given their labor and life to give the paper its life for 94 years and to give it the shape, stature and strength to enter into 95th year of its publication.

Forgery on Gopabandhu’s Will: Cuttack District Judge Office looks like its breeding bed! Orissa High Court should look at it

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Article 227 of the Constitution of India has given the power of superintendence over all the Courts of a State to the State’s High Court. Therefore, I urge upon the High Court of Orissa to look at what has happened in the office of the Cuttack District Judge in the matter of the State’s most precious document – the last Will of Utkalmani Pundit Gopabandhu Das. The said office of judiciary looks like a breeding bed of forgery.

People’s faith in judiciary will be lost if influential persons freely tamper with or replace an original Will with forged ones and/or escape law by using the fake/forged Will in legal forums by projecting the same as the certified copies thereof granted by the District Judge.

The offense is too serious to be ignored

 I have discussed in these pages why I suspect that Gopabandhu’s last Will has been suppressed or destroyed by Radhanath Rath, a servant of Gopabandhu, who thereafter had eventually grabbed the editorship of his co-founded paper -The Samaja – after manufacturing a forged Will of Gopabandhu with the help of Lingaraj Mishra; and how the Servants of the People Society (SoPS) has taken over the Samaja to its ownership by using the same forged Will.

In order to reach the reality, I had tried to legally obtain a certified copy of Gopabandhu’s Will, projected as probated by the District Judge of Cuttack in Misc. Case No. 42 of 1928. I had filed the application for the certified copy on 21 August 2013, which was registered as Copy Application No. 353A.

As the same did not fetch any result till 7 April 2014, despite meeting the District Judge in his chamber several times, the President of Utkalmani Newspaper Employees Association Sri Deviprasanna Nayak, deeply affected by the question raised in these pages over authenticity of ownership of Samaja, in order to know the truth, used RTI to know of the whereabouts of the Probated Will of Gopabandhu.

In answering to the RTI query, the Asst. Public Information Officer-cum-Sheristadar, District Judge Court, Cuttack has informed that “the Will of Pundit Gopabandhu Das probated in Misc. Case 42/1928 is not available” as the said Will “has been sent to the Office of the District Judge, Berhampur and received by the Sheristadar of the said Office on 02.04.1936.” After release of this RTI information, I was informed by the Dist. Judge Office that my application for copy of the Will has already been rejected on finding that the same is not available.

This information makes the situation more intriguing, as I have found out in course of research that the same office of the District Judge, Cuttack has issued a certified true copy of the probated Will on 9.1.1996 to an applicant, which has been used in a case. We have located, at the typing stage of this copy, there was attempt to tamper with the text. When either the Comparer or the Certifying officer located the tampering, the same was undone by applying white paint on the intentionally and wrongfully typed portion and thereafter, on the white paint, the correction, as per the text of the probated copy of the Will preserved in the records of the District Court, was inscribed.

When the Will is “not available” in the office of the District judge, Cuttack since 2.4.1936, as it has been “sent to the Office of the District Judge, Berhampur and received by the Sheristadar of the said Office” on that date, because of which my application dated 21 .08.2013 for a certified copy of the Will has been rejected in April 2014 after at least a 8 months long search, how could the said District Judge issued a stamped certified copy of the Will on 9.1.1996, bearing the attempted tampering and correction therein?

Was it then manufactured in the District Judge Office?

This question needs be looked into by the High Court of Orissa, along with who had tried to tamper with the text thereof, which had been foiled by the District Court.

A further point that deserves attention is that, on 20.9.1930, a copy of the forged Will was generated in the Cuttack District Judge office with rubber stamps of the Court affixed thereon, with notes discernible on its page that says, the same is copied to Book No IX at Serial No.15.

The rubber-stamped copy does not carry the signature of the District Judge who granted the probate.

When this rubber-stamped copy shows that it was “filed on 15th December 1928 and was prepared on 20.9.1930, another copy of the Will, used by the SoPS as certified copy of the Will in the High Court of Delhi, shows that the same was probated on 7.9.1929 and copied on 28.2.1954.. If the Will of Gopabandhu is not available in the Office of the District Judge, Cuttack since 2.4.1936, where from this so-called true copy dated 28.2.1954 also emanated?

More intriguing is the fact that the tampering attempted on 9.1.1996 on the copy of the Will tallies with the copy of the forged Will dated 28.2.1954 filed by Servants of the People Society before the Delhi High Court in Suit No.152/96.

Radhanath Rath was ruling the roost in the Samaja in 1996. He knew that he and Lingaraj Mishra had forged the Will, He also knew that, the forged copy of the Will he was using, was not a stamped certified copy, therefore, has no evidentiary value. But having benefitted so immensely by using the forged Will, he was not daring to tell the Delhi High Court that the copy of the Will placed before it by the SoPS was not the copy of the probated Will, even though SoPS was using that copy of the forged Will against him in Suit No. 152/96.

On the other hand, SoPS had manufactured the copy of the forged Will on 28.2.1954 to meet the requirement of Audit Bureau of Circulation for membership. Establishment of ownership was necessary to become a member of ABC. But the forged copy of the Will that Rath had procured in 1930 was not traceable at that time. Therefore, on 28.2.1954, the forged copy was again manufactured from the handwritten copy of the forged will preserved by Rathanath Rath. It tallies eith the handwritten copy of the forged Will published later in Samaja on 7.7.1986.

In his last part of life,Rath not only handed over the Samaja management to his son-in-law Padarabinda Mohapatra, but also handed over editorial responsibility to his daughter Manorama Mohapatra by arranging her induction into hierarchy of SoPS through manipulations. This ignited conflict between him and the SoPS. He knew that Gopabandhu had never given the samaja to SoPS. It was he and Lingaraj Mishra who had forged the will to grab the Samaja under cover of SoPS. So, he dissolved the Board of Management of Samaja which the SoPS had created. SoPS challenged him in the Delhi High Court using the forged copy of the Will Rath had created on the solid assumption that Rath cannot challenge the said Will in that Court.

But, the SoPS also knows that copy of the Will it had filed in the Court was a copy of the forged Will. Elsewhere in these pages, it would be seen that after death of Gopabandhu, SoPS had asked Lingaraj Mishra to take over the Sayabadi Press as per the Will of Gopabandhu. The Executive of SoPS had not asked Mishra to take over Samaja, because it was known to it that Gopabandhu had not bequeathed to it the Samaja as it was common a common venture of Satyabadi Panchasakha and spiritually the property of the people of Orissa. The handwritten copy of the forged Will published in the Samaja of 7.7.1986 has notes on its margin about implementation of the Will. When it is noted against Para 6 containing Gopabandhu’s desire to make over the Press to SoPS the margin note says that the Press is made over against receipt, there is no note on the para 7 that contains the forgery. So, SoPS is unambiguously conscious of the forgery Rath and Lingaraj Mishra had done through the copy of the Will they had manufactured. Yet, it had submitted the forged copy of the Will manufactured on 28.2.1954 for use in ABC membership as a document in its case against Radhanath Rath assuming that the forgery shall not be exposed by Rath as he himself was its architect.

Yet, the fact that this forged copy was not in stamp paper but in plain paper with rubber stamp of the court illegally used, was making the plentiffs fidget. SoPS was apprehensive that the Delhi High Court, while hearing the case, may insist upon production of the Certified Copy on stamped paper. So, a fresh attempt was made to generate a copy of the forged Will on a stamped paper. After obtaining an order for the certified copy, SoPS had gained over the Court typist to prepare the copy on stamp paper with court fee affixed from copy of the forged Will in their hand and get it stamped as certified true copy. But to dismayof SoPS,the certifying officer compared the typed copy with the copy of the probated Will preserved in the Book IX at serial 15 and found the foul play. The typist had to apply white paint on the text so wrongfully typed and then on that white paint, had to type the true version of the probated Will as copied to Book IX. Then the corrected copy was authenticated.

This authenticated copy could have exposed the forgery of the Will in the copy SoPS had submitted in the High Court and could also have led to punishment for the crime of forgery. Hence the certified stamped copy was abandoned by SoPS and landed in our hand during research.

High Court of Delhi could not reach the stage of examining the document filed by SoPS including the forged copy of the Will dated 28.2.1954. When SoPS was reluctant to expedite the hearing of its case lest the forgery be known, to its great relief Radhanath Rath died. On 1.5.1998 it filed a petition in the Delhi High Court seeking leave not to press the case as Rath had died and the SoPS had come to compromise with other defendants. Thus they have avoided punishment for using a forged Will and have been using the same forged Will to continue their illegal grip over the Samaja.

This question needs be looked into by the High Court of Orissa.

In course of our investigation we have also found that the Will of Gopabandhu was probated on two different dates – 20.9.1930 and 7.9.1929 in the same probate case bearing No.42/1928?

How this was possible is a question the High Court of Orissa should look into.

It is baffling that the probate order dated 7.9.1929 covers a Will that it mentions as “Amend Will”.

Pundit Gopabandhu had died after dictating his Will to Radhanath Rath, as per eye-witness accounts of Pundit Nilakantha Das. The Will probated on 20. 9. 1930 as per stamped certified true copy dated 9.1.1996 is written by Lingaraj Mishra. Yet again, the Will probated on 7.9.1929 is written by the same Lingaraj Mishra. How could the District Judge in the same 42/1928 case grant probate to the “Amend Will”, when the Will filed on 15.12.1928 was kept pending till 20.9.1930?

This question needs be looked into by the High Court of Orissa.

The point to be noted is that, if at all the Will probated on 7.9.1929, was the Will dictated by Gopabandhu in his death bed, he had not amended the will after his death. So the “Amend Will” doesn’t deserve any credence. Was it real and really probated? This question needs be looked into by the High Court of Orissa.

Both the avatars of the Will being not the same, the District Judge office of Cuttack has played the role of a breeding bed of forgery, at the behest of its beneficiaries – Radhanath Rath, Lingaraj Mishra and Servants of the People Society.

This is a serious offense against the people of Orissa.

The High Court of Orissa, being the Court of superintendence, should immediately take cognizance of this matter and institute a time-bound inquiry to find out the truth and to take action against everybody- alive or dead – if forgery is ascertained and to ensure that the people of this State are not left in the lurch to bear with judiciary’s suspected role in forgery of this type.

This is really urgent.

Gopabandhu’s Samaja in the words of Gopabandhu

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It is increasingly being clear that the Servants of the People Society has cheated the Registrar of Newspapers for India in matter of ownership of the Oriya daily ‘The Samaja’ founded by Pandit Gopabandhu Das. It has used a forged Will of Gopabandhu to claim ownership over the paper.

We have shown earlier why we suspect the paper’s former editor Radhanath Rath to be the prime offender in preparation of the forged Will of Gopabandhu. Two specific documents have contributed to our suspicion.

Nilakantha on Will of GopabandhuOne: the autobiography of Pandit Nilakantha Das where he has given his eye-witness accounts that before breathing his last Gopabandhu had given dictation of his Will to Radhanath Rath.

version of radhanath rathTwo: The biography of Gopabandhu written by Radhanath Rath wherein he has said that Gopabandhu had created a trust comprising ‘The Satyabadi Press’ and ‘The Samaja’ and appointed the Servants of the People Society as the trustee of the same trust.

The Will of Gopabandhu, which the Servants of the People Society is using is written by Lingaraj Mishra wherein the trust aspect is conspicuous by its absence.

Lingaraj Mishra was a noted man in Gopabandhu’s circle. Though Gopabandhu was not satisfied with his activities, yet he had sponsored him to the Bihar-Orissa Council and recommended him also for membership of Servants of the People Society. So, he was known to everybody close to Gopabandhu. Jagabandhu Singh was one such person whom Gopabandhu was holding with esteem and he was present at the deathbed of Gopabandhu. Had Lingaraj Mishra really taken the dictation of the Will, he being known to Jagabandhu, that could have clearly been mentioned by Jagabandhu in his eye-witnessed accounts. But, writing about the last moment of Gopabandhu, Jagabandhu has written that “somebody else” (Aau Jane) was taking the dictation. That “somebody” was certainly not Lingaraj Mishra. because, Lingaraj Mishra was well known to Jagabandhu and had he taken the dictation, Jagabandhu should have written,‘Lingaraj took the dictation’.

Who is that “somebody”? He was, as Pandit Nilakantha Das has said, Radhanath Rath.

Rath was just a low-paid servant of Gopabandhu, stationed at Cuttack. There was no reason for Jagabandhu to know him personally and therefore he has not mentioned his name while describing how the Will was noted.

Jagabandhu's versionJagabandhu’s eye-witnessed accounts were published in ‘Gruhalaxmi’ vol. III, p.13 and has found place in his biography ‘Jibanalekhya’ at pp.14-15.

This makes it clear that Radhanath Rath had taken the dictation of the Will of Gopabandhu wherein he had made a ‘Trust’ comprising the Satyabadi Press and the Samaja and appointed the Servants of the People Society as the ‘Trustee’ thereof under strict condition that the said Society must spend all its income for development of the Bana Bidyalaya at Satyabadi and in socio-political interest of Orissa. Radhanath Rath has metioned of this ‘Trust’ which is missing in the fair/final copy of the Will reduced to writing by Lingaraj before Gopabandhu signed it. Why so? Obviously it must have occured to him before signing that the Samaja being in the collective control of the panchasakha, he alone cannot push it into a “Trust” and without the so-called “Trust” being registered, SoPS cannot become its “Trustee”. Therefore, when Lingaraj was reducing the draft taken by Radhanath, Gopabandhu had deliberately and consciously ensured that the Samaja shall remain the property of the people, as contemplated by the Panchasakha and shall free the Satyavadi Press to  which SoPS should serve as a caretaker under the condition stipulated in the Will.

That, only the Satyabadi Press, and never the Samaja, was made over to the said Society is clear in the Society’s resolution of 8-4-1931, authorizing Lingaraj Mishra “to accept the press according to the will of Pt. Gopabandhu Das from the executors of the will”.

The Will in use by Servants of the People Society is shown as written by Lingaraj Mishra and shows that Gopabandhu had made over the charges of ‘The Samaja’ along with the ‘Satyabadi Press’, contrary to actuals.

On the ground discussed above, this Will is fake and forged. In order to grab ‘The Samaja’ under the cover of Servants of the People Society, as I have focussed in my previous presentations, Radhanath Rath had suppressed or destroyed the Will he had taken dictation of and Lingaraj Mishra in nexus with him, had created the Will in use, despite the original Will fair-copied by him from the draft taken by Radhanath and improved upon under orders of Gopabandhu as noted supra having been probated; and both the miscreants had circulated the wrong information that Gopabandhu had made over the Samaja to that Society.

Many authors including Sriram Chandra Dash, Nityananda Satpathy, Surjyanarayan Dash, Binode Kanungo and suchlike have helped the lie concocted by Radhanath and Lingaraj about “gifting away” of The Samaja by Gopabandhu to Servants of the People Society spread without investigation into the reality. We don’t rely upon them, as to us, their notings are based on mere hearsay. None of them was present on the spot when Gopabandhu had dictated his Will. The only two eye-witnesses – Pandit Nilakantha Dash and Jagabandhu Singh – had never said it that Lingaraj Mishra had taken the dictation. When the former has specifically said that Radhanath Rath had taken the dictation, the later has made it clear that the man who took the dictation was not known to him by name.

It is now, therefore, pertinent to know, if Gopabandhu had ever thought of giving the Samaja to the Servants of the People Society? From what Gopabandhu himself has written, we can say: No, Never.

The Servants of the People Society has brought out a Report of six years on various activities its members were pursuing. As Gopabandhu was its Vice-President his activities were also mentioned of in this Report. This had misled a few to apprehend that Gopabandhu had given away the Samaja to the said society. In reacting to that, Gopabandhu, in an editorial in the Samaja on 7.3.1927, had declared that the apprehension was absolutely fallacious inasmuch as the report was only indicative of his activities as a member and nothing else.

I am rendering below a translation of the said editorial.

Fallacious Apprehension

Gopabandhu's versionServants of the People Society or Loka Sevaka Samaja is established at Lahore. I am a member of this society for about an year. A branch of this society has been created at Cuttack a few months ago and in that connection a public library has been established. A report of this society covering last six years has been published. In this report there is mention of whosoever member has been engaged in whatsoever pursuits. Therefore, whichever public endeavor or institute I am engaged with, has been placed in this report. That has generated an apprehension in some quarters that the newspaper Samaja or institutes like the Satyabadi School have become properties of the People Society. There shall remain no such impression or apprehension if one goes through the original report of the Society. Reading of the report would make it clear that only what I am doing as a member of the Society is mentioned there and nothing else.
(Samaja, dt. 7.3.1927)

Two months later in May 1027, in the third installment of his words on Servants of the People Society he had made it further clear that the Society had no investment in or connection with The Samaja at all.

So, Gopabandhu, in his own words has made it clear that he had never pledged or thought of giving The Samaja to the Servants of the People Society and the newspaper was to stay the property of the people of Orissa as contemplated by the Panchsakha, which he was heading.
.

‘The Samaja’ in deathbed: Two Editors – Lingaraj Mishra and Radhanath Rath – need posthumous punishment for their heinous crime

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

An axiom floated by ancient Oriya wisdom says, if one tells a lie, he may need to contrive a thousand lies to cover it up.

Lingaraj Mishra and Radhanath Rath, the two former ministers of Orissa, who benefitted the most, as editors of The Samaja, fully fit into this axiom. They have produced many lies to cover up the first lie they had concocted to cheat everybody in the matter of Gopabandhu’s Will.

As already exposed, Rath had taken dictation of the Will of Gopabandhu on his deathbed. But he suppressed or destroyed that Will in order to form a nexus with Lingaraj Mishra to usurp ‘The Samaja’ by using the route of SoPS.

Rathwas an employee of Gopabandhu. But by rendering inconsequential the will of Gopabandhu in matter of the Satyabadi Press, he had committed not only a blatant breech of trust that Gopabandhu had in him, but also the most heinous crime a servant may commit against a believing and loving as well as well-wishing master.

Orissa as a whole has been cheated by this treacherous duo – Radhanath Rath and Lingaraj Mishra.

Let us start with the second man, because, this is the man who has authored the forged Will of Gopabandhu in the environment the former had created.

Men of dubious conduct: Lingaraj and Radhanath

After Gopabandhu’s death, Lingaraj Mishra was the lone Oriya who was in SoPS as an “Associate Member Under Training”.

His conduct was not satisfactory, as transpires from communications between SoPS founder Lala Lajpat Rai and Gopabandhu.

Lalaji had informed Gopabandhu on 10.12.1927 that he was not satisfied with Lingaraj, whom he had recommended for membership. Gopabandhu, in his reply dated 23.12.1927 to Lalaji, also confirmed that he was not satisfied with Lingaraj either.

He had made some confidential mention about Lingaraj in this letter; and yet had urged upon Lalaji to keep him further under training lest he may improve.

On receiving this reply, Lalaji had written back on 26.12.1927 a mail of solace wherein he had assured Gopabandhu that he was not going to dismiss him immediately. “I have not yet formed any final opinion adverse to him”, he had said.

These very quoted words of Lalaji make it clear that he had a prima facie adverse opinion on Lingaraj.

Yet, because of Gopabandhu’s appeal, Lingaraj was not dismissed. He continued under training till 1930 and became a life member in the special circumstances caused by Gopabandhu’s demise in absence of any other person from Orissa in its enrollment.

According to Gopabandhu, as noted in his letter of 23.12.1927, Lingaraj was “a bit of easygoing nature” and had “not much initiative and imagination”.

But Radhanath Rath was a shrewd person with vast ambitions.

A mere low-paid servant of Gopabandhu, he had projected himself as his most trusted associate after his master’s death, and had emerged so arrogantly aggressive that Gopabandhu’s closest friend, patron and co-founder of ‘The Samaja’ – Pt. Nilakantha Das – was thrown out from the premises of Satyabadi Press and editorship of the paper quite “rudely” a few months after Gopabandhu passed away. Pandit Nilakantha who had seen how Radhanath Rath, as an paid servant of Gopabandhu, had taken the dictation of the Will, had vehemently opposed the Will purported to have been written by Lingaraj Mishra to Gopabandhu’s dictation, used for establishing ownership of SoPS over the Samaja. Rath’s most layal protege Udayanath Sarangi, who had acted as the paper’s printer and publisher, as well as News Editor, has, in his book ‘Gandhi Maharajanka Shishya’, given an account of how Pandit Nilakantha Das and Pandit Godavarish Mishra were often in contretemps and altercations with Radhanath Rath over the issue of the Will.

Such circumstantial evidences prod us to apprehend that Rath used Lingaraj to create a forged Will of Gopabandhu. He must have instigated Lingaraj to write the forged Will, the exact photo copy of which was published by Radhanath in the Samaja on 7.7.1986, as thereby greater personal benefit would be available to both of them.

Mens rea

Mens rea behind this illegal adventure is not difficult to locate.

Rath was a very ambitious person with a poor income.

He was a servant of Gopabandhu, not a friend or political disciple or colleague as he has made others believe, after his master’s death.

He was in the habit of raising disputes with Gopabandhu for higher pay and threatening him to resign from his service if his wages were not hiked. In reply to his demands, Gopabandhu had told him to seek employment elsewhere if thereby he gets better wages. The condition of the Press was not permitting a pay hike and there was no hope for any improvement in near future either. Hence he was asked to take the final decision on the question of his continuance in the job as quickly as possible, so that Gopabandhu would no more suffer from the environment of uncertainty he was creating (Reply of Gopabandhu to Rath’s letter on 6.1.1928).

From this letter it is clear that the propaganda that Rath had given up his government service in forest department to join Gopabandhu and was posted as Manager of Satyabadi Press and The Samaja from the beginning, is a false propaganda generated by Rath himself to show his importance in the circle of Gopabandhu.

Rath has admitted in his letter dated 12.2.1928 to Gopabandhu that, by that time, he was kept in charge of management of the Press for only a little more than 2 months.

“It is more than 2 months that I have been in charge of the Press. In the meantime you have not looked to its condition nor have you enquired about my question. I only received your letter but could not find you alone to have my say finally” Radhanath had said in this letter.

What was he to “say finally” to Gopabandhu? He says in the same letter, “When I have to take a final step, I must know for certain my position as it stands at present and would stand in future”.

So it is clear that, even on 12.2.1928, Radhanath was a low-paid employee of Gopabandhu, very unsure of his future, yet far away from any alternative job elsewhere.

The kindhearted Gopabandhu had, however, offered him a salary of Rs.50 per month, if he decides to continue in his job.

Radhanath was not getting a better job with higher wages. Therefore, he was continuing in his service under Gopabandhu.

From this wretched condition, after Gopabandhu’s demise, he was eager to fly into prosperity.

That was to come to him by acquiring the Samaja under a cover and the cover was SoPS.

This is the mens rea behind his manufacturing a forged Will in nexus with Lingaraj.

Rath was tutoring Gopabandhu

I have already quoted from Gopabandhu’s letter to Rath how he had not even been given Rs. 20/- only from the income of his Press, despite his waiting for the same in what became his death bed. Now I am quoting from Gopabandu’s reply to Rath to show how the later was mentally torturing him. In this communication, Gopabandhu had requested Rath to leave his Press for any other pasture if he so likes, as thereby he could be saved from the uncertainty over management of the Press.

“If you have made up your mind to leave the job, you should tell me in advance about when you would leave, so that I may decide what alternative arrangement could be made. …… If you are to leave, take a decision quickly, as thereby the constant agony of uncertainty, suspicion and apprehension I am being tortured with will end”, Gopabandhu had written to Rath brokenhearted in that letter (translated from Oriya). Rath, despite this, had not resigned, as he was waiting for a chance as Gopabandhu was deteriorating continuously.

Hidden agenda

Rath had a hidden agenda matching his high ambition.

He was conscious of the change the freedom struggle was ushering in.

He was sure of a political carrier if the Servants of the People Society, the reputed socio-political forum, famous in Orissa because of Utkalmani Gopabandhu Das, could be used as his platform.

Except Lingaraj Mishra, there was no second man from Orissa in SoPS after demise of Gopabandhu. He wanted to be a member thereof.

True, a politically known man like Lingaraj with a stint in Bihar-Orissa Council was yet to be confirmed as a member of SoPS, it was certainly not easy for Rath to enter into that society.

But late Gopabandhu Das was a revered person in SoPS. His wishes may not be ignored by SoPS, specifically as he was dead.

Therefore, Rath must have wanted to convince SoPS authorities that Gopabandhu had wished him to be enrolled into the organization. And to do this, he must have wanted to insert such a wish of Gopabandhu in the Will he had dictated. Therefore, while taking the dictation, he must have rapidly and shrewdly inserted the words “I had a mind to take Babu Radhanath Rath as my assistant under the Servants of the People Society”, which, Lingaraj must have copied to the fair copy he had written for Gopabandhu’s signature.

A plain reading of Para 6 of the Will’s Avatar in use, makes it clear that, the above quoted sentence does not fit into the flow of the sentences in that Para. After saying, “ For future management of the Satyabadi Press I had an elaborate scheme in my mind but I cannot draw it out at the present moment”, it was natural on his part to dictate, “The short cut that appears to me at the present moment is that I shall make over the (charges of the) whole Press to the Servants of the People Society so that a permanent institution of the Society may continue in Orissa”. Taking the structure of this part into consideration, the sentence about Radhanath Rath looks absolutely odd and wrong-placed between these two sentences.

So, certainly the said sentence was inserted in Para 6 clandestinely by Radhanath Rath while taking dictation of the draft Will, which, as per his scheme, helped him get enrolled to SoPS. and later, as already mentioned, the text of the Will was willfully changed to incorporate vesting of ownership of the Samaja in SoPS in the forged Will authenticated by the Sheristadar of the probate court, contrary to contents of the probated Will.

In this nasty design, Lingaraj Mishra had actively cooperated, in personal interest.

Rath must have convinced the “easy-going” Lingaraj that his confirmation could be easier if he recommends him as a colleague of Gopabandhu for membership of SoPS. In return, Rath would help him capture the Samaja for his political benefit through the route of SoPS.

And, as Rath was continuing to manage the Press after demise of Gopabandhu, this must have clicked.

And thus the Will that the SoPS is using for its ownership over the Samaja must have been created with Radhanath Rath and Lingaraj Mishra partnering with each other.

Their crime is so grievous that even posthumous punishment would look lighter.

 

Annul Padma Bhushan given to former Editor of Samaja: Civilian Awards are not accommodative to felonious misconduct

WHEN TWO FORMER MINISTERS AND LEGISLATIVE HEAVYWEIGHTS INDULGE IN FORGERY, THE ISSUE DESERVES SERIOUS ATTENTION. HERE THE FORGERS ARE RADHANATH RATH, THE BASIC OFFENDER AND LINGARAJ MISHRA HIS PARTNER.

BY USING A WILL PURPORTED TO BE OF ORISSA’S IMMORTAL HUMANITARIAN LEADER, UTKALMANI PANDIT GOPABANDHU DAS, BOTH OF THESE FELLOWS HAD GRABBED EXCELLENT MEDIA POWER BY BECOMING EDITORS OF ‘THE SAMAJA’ OF WHICH UTKALMANI WAS A CO-FOUNDER.

RATH EVEN FETCHED A PADMA BIBHSHAN DECORATION AS EDITOR OF THE SAMAJA.

AS THE FORGERY WENT UNNOTICED, USING THE FORGED WILL, SERVANTS OF THE PEOPLE SOCIETY FOUNDED BY LALA LAJPAT RAI, HAS ILLEGALLY OCCUPIED THE PAPER AND HAS BEEN SWINDLING ITS REVENUE, OPPRESSING THE JOURNALISTS AND NON-JOURNALIST EMPLOYEES OF THE SAMAJA BY WAY OF UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES.

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

PADMA BHUSAN is the third highest civilian award given by Government of India “for distinguished service of high order”. Radhanath Rath, then editor of ‘The Samaja’ was decorated with this award in 1968 for journalism in the category of ‘literature and education’. But as I have already shown, his entry into journalism was based on severe moral turpitude and felonious misconduct. He had grabbed ‘The Samaja’ by creating a forged Will of its founder, the late lamented Utkalmani Pt. Gopabandhu Das and had he not done so, becoming the paper’s editor till breathing his last could not have been possible. Therefore, if dignity of journalism is to be honored, and “distinguished service of high order” is to remain the criteria for Padma Awards, the central government should order for an immediate investigation into Rath’s role in the creation of the forged Will of Pandit Gopabandhu to grab ‘The Samaja’ under cover of Servants of the People Society (SoPS) and take necessary steps to punish him posthumously which should include annulment of the civilian award given to him; because, the national civilian awards are not meant to be belittled by being accommodative to severe moral turpitude and felonious misconduct, after howsoever belatedly they are known.

The President may cancel and annul the award of the decoration to any person under Rule 10 of Notification No. 3-Pres/55, which constitute the disciplining part of the ‘Statutes and Rules relating to the awards of Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri’. So, the President should initiate action in this regard without any delay. We are ready to cooperate with any enquiry, if constituted, to find out the facts.

In these pages, I have several times discussed why Gopabandhu’s Will in use by the occupiers of ‘The Samaja’ looks like a forged one . As time passes and our research proceeds, footprints of forgery becomes more discernible and Radhanath Rath emerges more unambiguously as the basic offender in forgery of Gopabandhu’s Will, calling for annulment of PADMA BHUSHAN awarded to him.

Will Forged

In my earlier article captioned “Prof. Nilakantha Rath sponsors his father’s forgery; claims to have discharged a debt” (orissamatters.com, February 15, 2014), I have quoted the eye-witnessed accounts of Pandit Gopabandhu’s closest friend and patron Pt. Nilakantha Das who in his autobiography has said that in his presence Radhanath Rath was taking the dictation of the Will from pandit Gopabandhu.

But the Will on basis of which SoPS has wrongfully occupied ‘The Samaja’, is written by Lingaraj Mishra.

Obviously the Will is circulation as written by Lingaraj Mishra is not the Will taken dictation of by Radhanath Rath.True, Lingaraj had made the final copy of the Will out of the draft taken dictation of by Radhanath oblivious of the unuthorised insertion, as pointed out earlier, therein. That final copy was probated. But that probated Will is in no use. Rath and Mishra had been and their co-offenders in SoPS are using a document, purported to be the Will of Gopabandhu, generated through a Sheristadar in Cuttack District Court, in matter of the Samaja.

If the one, Radhanath Rath had taken dictation of, the fair copy of which made in the hands of Lingaraj Mishra was probated was the real Will, the one in circulation as written by Lingaraj Mishra is undoubtedly the forged Will. Over this forgery, Pt. Nilakantha had many altercations with Radhanath and the later’s loyal protege Udaynath Sarangi, despite having suppressed the facts about why Pt. Nilakantha was in contretemps with Rath, has noted that the two co-founders of the Samaja Pt. Nilakantha and Pt. Godavarish  were rejecting Rath’s claim that the Samaja was given away to SoPS by Gopabandhu in his Will (Gandhimaharajanka Shishya, p. 195).

Nilakantha on Will of GopabandhuI am reproducing here below the photo copy of Pandit Nilakantha’s eye-witness accounts from his autobiography (Atmajivanee) published in the compilation of his works (Granthavali) for proper appreciation of this position:

When here Pandit Nilakantha has clearly mentioned that it is Radhanath Rath, who was taking dictation of the Will from Gopabandhu, the same having been published in 1963, the said Radhanath Rath had never objected to this eye-witnessed accounts anywhere at any point of time, had he not really taken the dictation of the same.

It is not that the Atmajivanee of Pt. Nilakantha was not in the knowledge of Rath. This particular work had bagged the Sahitya Academy Award for Nilakantha and got profuse publicity in the Samaja of which Rath was the Editor at that time.

mahamanishi nilakantha

Rath, in the capacity of President of SoPS and Editor of ‘The Samaja’, had patronized publication of above pictorial life-sketch of Pandit Nilakantha titled ‘Mahamanish Nilakantha’ on occasion of his death anniversary on 6th Nov.1985, wherein the publication of his Atmajivanee in 1963 is displayed.

So, Rath had certainly known that Nilakantha has written that in his presence “Radhanath Rath had taken the dictation of the Will of Gopabandhu.  In that Will Gopabandhu had gifted away the Press (Satyabadi Press) to Bharat Sevak Samaja (read SoPS). Radhanath was free to challenge this eye-witness accounts and countered it by saying that it was Lingaraj, not he, who had taken the dictation, when Nilakantha was alive. But he did it never. Because he knew that Nilakantha’s accounts on writing of the Will to Gopabandhu’s dictation was correct and it was impossible on his part to deny that during the life time of Pandit Nilakantha.

He was a mere low-paid employee of Gopabandhu. In the death bed also, Gopabandhu had used him as his paid employee by giving the dictation of his Will to him only. Nilakantha had seen it in his eyes. In Nilakantha’s views or in eyes of any of his close friends, who, with Gopabandhu were known as Panchasakha (five friends), had ever acknowledged Rath as one of them or an associate. But by patronizing the publication of ‘Mahamanish Nilakantha’, he ensured his projection as “old associate of Gopabandhu and Nilakantha”.

And, only after death of Nilakantha, he could dare to publish what he called “exact photocopy” of the “last Will dictated by Pandit Gopabandhu Das” in ‘The Samaja’ of 7.7.1986, showing Lingaraj Mishra as writer of the Will, which is a fake Will, manufactured to grab ‘The Samaja’ having facilitated Rath’s entry into SoPS. Here is that published “exact photocopy” of the so-called Will.

ALLEGED LAST WILL OF GOPABANDHU

We shall deal with this matter later again.

But instantly let us see further evidence of how this published Will was fake and recreated by Radhanath in nexus with Lingaraj Mishra, on a specific ground.

I am going to give photocopy of the depiction of Gopabandhu’s last moment from a book written and published by Radhanath Rath himself on 1st January 1964.

ulkalmani biography written by r.n.rath

version of radhanath rathThe book is titled “Late Utkalmani Pandit Gopabandhu Das A Short Life-Sketch”.

Rath had written and published it in the capacity of Editor, “The Samaja” and Member Servants of the People Society, Orissa Branch, Cuttack. Here is the photocopy of the extract:


In this he has suppressed who took the dictation. But has clearly said that Gopabandhu “constituted the ‘The Samaja’ and the ‘Satyabadi Press’ into a Trust and appointed the Servants of the People Society” as the trustee”.

In the Will published by Radhanath Rath in the Samaja on 7.7.1986 and used by SoPS in legal forums dose not contain these words. If really had Gopabandhu constituted ‘The Samaja’ and the ‘Satyabadi Press’ into a “trust” and “appointed” SoPS as the “Trustee” thereof, in the Will dictated “in the presence of his colleagues and friends”, the same is totally absent in the content of the Will in use. So, the Will in use is a forged Will,  which Radhanath Rath and Lingaraj Mishra have created by gaining over a Sheristadar of the court of the District Judge, Cuttack.

But in creation of the forged Will by Lingaraj Mishra, Radhanath Rath was the basic offender. If he knew that Gopabandhu had constituted a “Trust” comprising ‘The Samaja’ and the ‘Satyabadi Press’ and “appointed” the SoPS as its “Trustee”, how could he publish and project the SoPS as “owner” of ‘The Samaja’, unless he had deleted the “Trust” and the “Trustee” matter from the Will before handing over the same to Lingaraj Mishra for production of the fair copy?

I will come to the dubious and treacherous character of both Radhanath and Lingaraj in course of discussion. But let me go to some other speaking evidences of falsehood of the Will in use.

The Will in use shows that Gopabandhu had made over the charges of both the ‘Satyabadi Press’ and ‘The Samaja’ to SoPS. It is wrong. Gopabandhu had never made over the charge of ‘The Samaja’ to SoPS, because he knew that The Samaja was a collective venture of the Panchasakha – he and his four friends – Pandit Nilakantha, Pandit Godavarish, Pandit Krupasindhu and Acharya Harihar, who were, as and when necessary, editing and bringing out ‘The Samaja’ and to keep the paper afloat as a medium of socio-political awareness in Orissa, had willfully separated the accounts of the Satyabadi Press, transfering the same to Gopabandhu’s ownership. So, it was within the legitimacy of Gopabandhu to made over the charge of the Satyabadi Press only to SoPS, under the stipulated condition that income of the Press must be spent for betterment of the Vana Vidyalaya (Satyabadi School); not the charge of The Samaja. By virtue of being the eye witness thereof, Pandit Nilakantha had rightly written in the Atmajivanee (quoted supra) that Gopabandhu gave the Press only to SoPS (inadvertently mentioned as Bharata Sevak Samaja). That, Nilakantha’s version is correct, is established by the relevant records of SoPS that I am going to give below –

SoPS asks Lingaraj to take over the Press only

This is the resolution dated 8.6.1931 of SoPS, officially translated from Hindi on 22.1.1996, for use if possible in law suits. In the last para of this resolution, Sri Lingaraj Mishra “was authorized that on behalf of the Society he should accept the press according to the will of late Pt. Gopabandhu Das from the executors of the will”. There is no mention of ‘The Samaja’ in this resolution. This makes it clear that the Will in use is never the Will Pandit Gopabandhu Das had dictated.

After forging the Will, the forgers duo – Radhanath and Lingaraj – de facto occupied “The Samaja’ and hoodwinked the remaining founders of the paper – Pandit Nilakanth, Pandit Godavarish and Acharya Harihar – in the matter of the paper’s ownership. When Radahanath Rath continued as Manager, in some of the copies – never made public so as to avoid attention of the remaining founders of The Samaja’, a false ownership was being clandestinely inserted in the printers line to make out a case for future projection of SoPS as the owner. The then leadership of SoPS was perhaps hand-in-glove with the forger duo in this mischief.

I am giving below photocopy of the last page of The Samaja dated 2.1.1936 that shows Lingaraj Mishra as the Editor, Radhanath Rath as the Manager and a ghost like Peoples Ltd, Lahore as the owner.

Samaja printerline 2.1.1936

If at all Pandit Gopabandhu Das had made over the charge of ‘The Samaja’ to the Servants of the People Society, how could it be that the duo gave “The Peoples Ltd, Lahore” the ownership status in the printers line?

They have never explained this and none of the founders of ‘The Samaja’, who were alive by that time – Pandit Nilakanth, Pandit Godavarish and Acharya Harihar – have ever mentioned anywhere in their writings about “The Peoples Ltd, Lahore” owning the paper that they had unitedly founded, suffered for and possessed.

Looking from any angle into the matter, one gets convinced that Radhanath Rath, the greatest beneficiary of ‘The Samaja’ was a fraudster, who, in nexus with Lingaraj Mishra, had created a forged version of the Will of Gopabandhu with the sole purpose of hijacking the Samaja.

As I have already shown earlier in the article captioned “Even the District Judge Office made a breeding bed of  forgery”, this forged Will having no legal entity, as it was not probated but merely authenticated by a Shreistadar, attempt were made obtain a Certified Stamped Copy by changing the text of the probated Will at copy-typing stage to suit the nefarious purpose of Rath. When the attempt failed, a backdated one showing transfer of both the Samaja and the Satyavadi Press to SoPS by way of that Will, was manufactured on the desk of a Sheristadar behind back of the District Judge and  used by Radhanath Rath to his personal benefit under the cover of SoPS.

As this exposure is well documented, I hope the authorities will wake up to calling issue and institute an investigation into the felonious conduct of Radhanath Rath and make the President annul the third highest Civilian Award given to him in a misguided state, even though that would be posthumous.