Police must take stock of how the Police Station at Niali is functioning

As public protest against murder of RTI activist Krupasindhu Sahu is scheduled to be held at Niali on Feb.10, worried government has referred the matter of his murder to the Crime Branch of State Police for investigation.

In response to Saturday demand for government action in the matter, on behalf of the Chief Minister, Parliamentary Affairs Minister B. K. Arukh told Orissa Assembly on Monday that three persons accused of the murder have already been arrested when Karttik Pani, allegedly the main accused, is yet to enter the police dragnet. But he can’t escape, he assured.

Sahu’s body was found buried in the riverbed near the village of Bainchua of Niali P.S. on information obtained from Karttik’s mother Sushila Pani. Along with her, Police has arrested Pratap Jena and Manju Sahu.

Karttik is a habitual offender, currently under police scanning in five more felonious offences. He has already spent life in jail in a murder case.

Police may arrest him soon. But, more important it is to ascertain on whose behalf the RTI activist has been exterminated.

A journalist Bhavani Parija has allegedly got intimidating threats for his RTI activism. The same Niali Police has tortured him inside the Police Station forcing him to stand whole night in the Hazat on Feb.6 and then declared arrested on Feb.7 at 10.30 AM.

This is a serious syndrome. Police must take stock of how the Police Station at Niali is functioning.

Alleged murder of RTI activist Krupasindhu Sahu: Public protest on Feb.10 at Niali

A Public meeting  in protest against kidnap and murder of  Sri Krupasindhu Sahu, RTI Activist  will be held  at  Niali  Boys’ High School  on 10.2.15 at 4.30 PM.  All the Activists,  intellectuals,  academicians  are requested to join  the programme  and express solidarity  to  fight out  corruption and irregularities  in State Administration and  ensuring justice to the bereaved family of the victims.

The decision for the public meeting was taken in he state Convention of  RTI Activists and Human Rights Organizations  held at Lohia Bhaawan on 5.2.15.

Following was the resolution adopted.

The National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) expresses deep shock and anguish over the alleged murder of RTI activist Kripasindhu Sahu, around 26th January 2015, in Nachhinga village under Krushnaprasad Panchayat of Niali Block, Cuttack district, Odisha. Mr. Sahu’s alleged murder follows close on the heels of the alleged murder of another RTI activist Mr. Ganesh Chandra Panda, in Odisha on 28th December, 2014.

According to media reports and an independent fact-finding report subimitted by a four-member team of Human Rights Activists operating in Odisha (report annexed to this press release), Mr. Sahu had obtained information under the RTI Act that brought to the fore “huge corruption and irregularities in BGREI fund sanctioned for development of agriculture by influential and powerful political people”. This disclosure allegedly motivated affected persons, who belong to the ruling political party, to plan and execute Mr. Sahu’s alleged murder at the behest of contract killers. The fact-finding report buttresses this claim by stating that the SDPO of the concerned jurisdiction has opined that Mr. Sahu’s death was undoubtedly a pre-planned murder.

Though an FIR has been registered in Mr. Sahu’s alleged murder, the fact-finding report highlights disturbing trends of callous investigation and suggests that the independence of the investigating agency may have been compromised at the behest of powerful persons involved in Mr.Sahu’s alleged murder.

The death of Mr. Sahu under such suspicious circumstances adds to the long list of tragedies that highlight the clear and present danger to all RTI users face from vested interests that are allowed to operate with impunity. NCPRI demands that the Government of Odisha act swiftly to identify Mr. Sahu assailants and bring them to justice. Further, we demand swift and impartial investigation into the cause and motive behind his killing.

In the wake of reports of increased victimisation of whistleblowers like Mr. Sahu across India, it is important to reiterate that the primary duty of the State is to protect each one of its citizens, particularly those at greater risk because they are crusading for transparency and accountability. After immense public pressure, the Parliament passed the Whistleblower’s Protection Act (WBPA) in February 2014. The Act received Presidential assent on the 9th of May 2014 and was notified in the Gazette of India on the 12th. However, even after seven months the Act is yet to be operationalized as the Central Government has failed to frame Rules to supplement the Act. To prevent victimization of whistleblowers, the NCPRI urges the Central Government to operationalize the WBPA in its present form by framing appropriate Rules and Regulations without further delay.

Chief Minister’s link with Chit Fund as suggested by a Picture needs CBI Probe

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

 

chit fund cheat in naveen camp_photo Sankar Parida

This picture with annotation in Oriya has come to my hand from poet and socio-political activist Shankar Parida. Many of his FaceBook friends might also have got it.

It shows that Chit Fund accused Ranjan was an integral part of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s inner circle, whose prominent presence was a guiding factor behind filing of Naveen Patnaik’s nomination papers for the post of BJD President.

He is seen, stamp in hand, authenticating the nomination.

The picture is self-explanatory and massively suggestive. May the CBI take the cue and zoom in on the Chief Minister, as delay may give him contrive ways to escape.

Former IPS officer and scholar par-excellence Arun Kumar Upadhyay has posted a comment in chit fund related story in ORISSA MATTERS that I am going to quote below:

“Supreme court had given order for CBI investigation when records were produced that Artha-tattva had given 6 free flats to the then Police Commissioner Sri B K Sharma who is now ADGP Crime branch and investigating Chit fund scam. Police Commissioner could not allow this without matching flats to the then DGP Sri M M Prahraj who has got legal impunity like High court judge after retirement as Member of State Administrative Tribunal in ending moments of UPA Govt. But the original cause of CBI inquiry is not being looked into and officers leader combine is trapping only Ashok Mohanty who had taken a single house on payment. Ashok Mohanty also must be aware,but can he tell the secrets? He must be under assurance that matter will be pacified after a short period”.

Mr. Upadhyay’s note is as apposite as pertinent.

Who but the Chief Minister is GodFather of these officers? RTI activist Jayant Kumar Das has sent me chilling details of one of these two officers that makes me infer that the offense attributed to him could not have been carried out or gone unpunished without the blessings of the chief minister on his head.

The CBI is doing discernibly excellent in penetrating into the felony. It must have drawn its roadmap to reach the crux.

But, unless the Chief Minister is immediately brought into investigation, the nexus of the offenders is so unfathomably intricate that where, when and in which layer what evidence shall get lost may be totally impossible to locate.

The Chief Minister may be immediately grilled on his connection with Ranjan.

Judicial Enquiry Essential to determine if Justice Laxmikanta Mohapatra did not act a conduit for a Chit Fund Mafia

 

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

(With core information from Jayanta Kumar Das)

Had Justice Laxmikanta Mohapatra not acted a conduit for chit fund operator Pradeep Kumar Sethy, he could never have acquired a ‘B’ category plot measuring 4000 sq.ft. in the most lucrative Bidanasi Housing Project area of Markata Nagar of Cuttack and by way of its transfer, would never have formed the triangle with the State’s Advocate General Asoka Mohanty.

RTI activist Jayanta Das deserves all praise for having dug out information that are to be dealt with here. The information is available in social media, as he and Alok Jena have shared them with the society. I was expecting Justice Mohapatra to react. He is silent. Advocate General Mohanty could have also come out with his clarification. He has not. Padeep Sethy has been arrested and facing trial for cheating the chit fund depositors. With him entangled in this plot scandal are Justice Mohapatra, then of Orissa High Court on one side and Orissa’s Advocate General Asoka Mohanty on the other!

This triangular scandal has another side also. We are conducting an enquiry thereon and will deal with the same after our investigation is over.

But it is time to say, to us it seems, Justice Mohapatra has acted a conduit for the chit fund mafia Pradeep Sethy.

It seems Justice Mohapatra has acted from the beginning to arrange the plot for the economic offender. He had no real necessity for the residential plot in Markata Nagar of Cuttack City. This is evidenced in his later declaration that, being a permanent resident of Cuttack City, neither he nor any of his family would ever need a residential plot in any of the housing projects of CDA. So, evidently there was no urgency for him to use official letterhead of the High Court to apply for the plot under discretionary quota which is ethically meant for helping people who are in very urgent need of a residential plot, but quick allotment of the required land to them is not possible in the normal process. The urgency for the allocation expressed in his application is obviously not for his use, but for circumventing the allocation process for a shadow beneficiary who subsequently transpired to be a chit fund cheat. Let us see why this occurs to us.

LM_Use of High Court pad by LM in application for plotThe ‘B’ category plot could not have normally come to Sethy. Not even to Laxmikanta Mohapatra as an Individual in normal allocation process. So Mohapatra used the official letterhead of the Orissa High Court to browbeat the authorities and acquired the plot by way of allocation from the discretionary quota of the Chairman of Cuttack Development Authority.

To bag the plot, he hoodwinked the law by crafty suppression of the fact that he has already had his residential house in the city of Cuttack. He is a permanent resident of Stoney Road, Chandini Chowk, Cuttack. The law says, a resident of the City cannot be allotted with a residential plot from the CDA in the city of Cuttack. Therefore, suppressing that he has permanent house in the Cuttack City, he stated in his application dated October 11, 2006. “I have no land at Markata Nagar, Abhinaba Bidanasi, Cuttack either in my name or in the name of any of my family members”, as if Markata Nagar is a different place and not a part of the City of Cuttack. CDA also helped him in this mischief in the body of allocation.

The use of the High Court letterhead and his position as Judge of the Orissa High Court was too intimidating for the CDA staff to examine the legality and ethicality and eligibility aspects in allocation of the land to him. And, consequently, Plot No. 11-38/1332 measuring 4000 sq.ft. in ‘B’ category was given to him for only Rs.9,50,500/- under order No. 12699 of CDA on 25.5.2007. Mohapatra took over possession of the plot on 23,07.07. But did not bother about execution of the lease deed. Had the deed been executed, he would have been required to pay to the exchequer in form of Stamps. Non-execution of the lease deed for several years after allocation of the land to and taking over of the land by Justice Mohapatra was deliberate, because, a design was already on the anvil to transfer the plot to Sethy with a huge profit margin by way of commercial use of the plot, though the allocation was strictly for residential use of Justice Mohapatra.

Mahapatra had no right to use the plot in commercial transaction. Firstly, being a judge, he should not have sought for personal benefit at the discretion of the CDA chairman, which was de facto bound to make him obliged to the boss of a commercial institute that deals with allocation of plots and contracts of developmental works necessitating judicial intervention as and when occasion arises. Secondly, had he wanted not to continue with the allotted plot, he should have surrendered the same to the CDA before making any value addition thereto. He did not do. He had a design to make a commercial profit out of it. He has made the commercial transaction behind back of the CDA before the lease deed was executed  and has nose led it to put stamp of approval on his commercial deal.

I quote from his affidavit where he has informed the CDA in these words: “I have entered into negotiation with Sri Pradeep Kumar Sethy S/o Rama Chandra Sethy, resident of Ananta Nagar, 6th lane, Berhampur -760005, Dist. Ganjam, Orissa for transfer of the above plot because of my legal necessity and I have received the consideration money amounting to Rs.1,00.00.000/- (Rupees One Crore only) as agreed between us”.

Mark the mischief. He has not made this negotiation with the chit fund mafia Pradeep Sethy with permission of the CDA. He has simply declared that he has entered into negotiation with Sethy to transfer the plot to him by already having received Rs.1 crore as consideration money and has asked the CDA to transfer the said plot to Sethy, as by then the lease deed was not executed. As the lease deed was not executed, he was not to make the registration. The transfer was not to be done in the land registration office of Government of Orissa, but was to be done in the file only in the office of the CDA. So, despite the land transfer made against consideration money amounting to a crore of rupees, the same being done out of the Registration office, the stamps applicable to a Rs.1 crore worth land transaction was not to come to the exchequer.

In order not to give any scope to CDA to allot the plot to any other person than Sethy, Mohapatra stated, “I have not negotiated with any other person for transfer of the plot” and undertook “to hand over possession of the land to Pradeep Kumar Sethy after obtaining permission for transfer of the ownership allotment and before execution of the lease deed in favor of the prospective transferee”.

On receiving this affidavit, CDA “transferred” the plot from Justice Mohapatra to Pradeep Sethy under order No. 8098 dt.23.4.2011 “to be used only for residential purpose” with the stipulation that “the residential building must be constructed within one year from the date of issue of this letter”. This stipulation indicates that no “residential building” was standing on the plot by that date, which prompts us to infer that Justice Mhapatra had lied in the affidavit about standing of a two-storied building in the plot just to add about (90 lakh of rupees worth value to the plot procured by paying the CDA a sum of Rs.9,80,500/- only. Had the double-storied residential building been really there, CDA could not have subjected the transfer of the plot from Mohapatra’s name to Sethy’s name to a non-violable condition that the “residential building must be constructed within one year from the date of issue of the land transfer letter. Mohapatra being a Judge, that too a Chief Justice of a High Court now, it is expected that he should clarify the position for removal of shrouds of suspicion over the issue.

Sethy took possession of the plot on the same day, i.e. 23.4.2011 and without getting the lease deed executed, and violating the condition for residential use of the plot, entered into a negotiation with Advocate General Mohanty to transfer the plot to his name on receipt of Rs.1,00,01,000/- towards consideration money.

Thus, two major transactions worth more than Rs.2 crores was carried out on the same plot twice behind back of the Registration Office, Had the lease deeds been executed promptly after allocation of the land by the CDA, the transfer, instead of the concerned file in the office of the CDA, must have been done in the Land Registrar’s office and huge amounts of revenue in shape of stamps could have come to the State Exchequer then and there. Yet again, it transpires from the communication of CDA to Asoka Mohanty bearing No.6953 dated 22.3.13 that there was no residential building on the plot, for which Mohanty was subjected to the terms and condition that he was to construct the “Residential Building” on the plot as a “must” “within one year from the date of issue of this letter”, failing which, “the lease would be determined and allotment will be cancelled and the possession of the plot would be taken over by the Authority”.
So, here also, evidently the land was transferred to Mohanty without subjecting the said transfer to necessary stamps.

However, Sethy has stated in his affidavit that he was making the transaction with Mohanty “because of personal necessity”. But Justice Mohapatra had made the transaction with Sethy not for personal necessity, but for “Legal necessity”.

What was the “Legal Necessity” of Justice Mohapatra to negotiate with Sethy for transfer of the allocation from his name to Sethy’s name in the file of the CDA?

Unless Justice Mohapatra comes out with details of why it was a “legal necessity” for him to transfer his plot to Pradeep Sethy, it may be difficult to discard the suspicion that he has acted a conduit for the chit fund mafia in the instant case. This angle is is difficult to be discarded in view of the fact that he had not responded to any advertisement of CDA for the plot, but had applied in the High Court pad as it was understood by him that some plots of CDA were available for allotment. Mark the media added above. There he says, “I understand that some plots of land of Cuttack Development Authority are available within Cuttack Municipal area. I have no land Markata Nagar, Abhinav Bidanasi, cuttack……”. The question is, who made him understand this? When the availability of the plot was not advertised, how could he came to know of it? From the developments discussed above, we are inclined to suspect that Sethy had obtained the information and had made Justice Mahapatra apply for the same with yet unknown compulsions, which had forced to hand him over the plot under “legal necessity”. This suspicion cannot end till he gives details of the “legal necessity” and convinces the public that in this scandal, he is innocent.

A sitting Chief Justice of a High Court and an Advocate General of a State Government forming the triangle with a chit fund mafia over the plot in question, an enquiry by the Supreme Court of India into this scandal seems essential to cleanse the judicial system of misusers of their privileged positions. And, the sooner it is done, the better.

Pending Determination of Unsound Mind, Singhvi Should Quit Parliament

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

“Assuming them(the contents of the CD) to be true, (which they certainly are not), would disclose only something private and consensual giving a cause of action only to aggrieved family members (who have stood completely by me) and to no one else” (Abhishek Manu Shinghvi when resigning from the Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Law & Justice ).

If his carnal conduct “assuming” to be true, as he says, was “private and consensual giving a cause of action only to aggrieved family members” is worth legality, Singhvi is certainly not qualified to claim that “no one else” has any right to find therein any “cause of action”.

He is a member of India’s Parliament in the Rajyasabha and that gives every citizen of India the right to be worried if his “private” conduct dismantles the discipline and probity expected of him.

The video in question displays indecent scenes of sex indulged into by a male who looks like him when he was still the head of the Parliament’s Standing Committee on personnel, law and justice and a female whom a lady lawyer of Delhi has identified as a lady lawyer she knows.

Before the general public could know of this video, Singhvi, an astute lawyer well versed in the tricks of law, succeeded in putting a judicial injunction on media organizations, which, to his information, were in possession of the CD carrying video records of his “certainly not true” extramarital sex. The court was shown that the video in question was a morphed one inasmuch as his driver, who, Singhvi had alleged, was threatening to tarnish his public image for settling a personal grudge as he had refused to enhance his salary, has confessed to have fabricated the video. And, then he has taken steps to keep the driver’s version beyond judicial test of reliability thereof by informing the court of a settlement, arrived at out-of-court with the driver.

But, if the lady who features in the sex video, which, as per Singhvi’s statement was “consensual”, is truly a high profile lawyer of Delhi High Court with practice also in the Supreme Court as claimed, the matter cannot and must not end with the driver’s driven confession in the court or Singhvi’s information to the court of out-of-the-court settlement with the said driver; because, as innuendoes wallop, the lady was caught in the act of bartering the pleasure with Singhvi for help in elevation to the bench from the bar, as he, heading both the Standing Committee of Parliament on Personnel, Law and Justice as well as the Law and Justice Department of the Congress party that rules India through Sonia Gandhi as UPA Chairperson and Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister, was in the position to help her fulfill her ambition.

The court injunction has failed to obstruct circulation of the video and / or the news.

As people are increasingly being conscious of how heinous crimes in India are not being readily remedied because of availability of judicial cold-storage facilities to crime-based litigations in form of stay and injunctions, they have used social media to see and discuss the video.

Going by the number of hits the video has obtained in course of its circulation in social and online medias, several lakhs of viewers have already watched it.

Presumably, all the people connected with Singhvi – in the circle of his relations, in his profession, in his party and in the Parliament – have seen the video.

Social media being internet media, I have been trying all these days to find out if any of them comes out in the internet with reason to report that the male satyr displayed in the sex video is not Singhvi. But, I have not seen any. This makes me inclined to assume that almost all that know Singhvi personally, are believing that he is the male satyr in action in the sex video.

When thus the assumption tilts towards Singhvi, the lady in the nasty act is also named by people who know her. Surprisingly she stays conspicuous by her silence. On the other hand, suspecting that she was partnering with Singhvi with an eye on an superior judiciary position, one Sarbajit Roy, residing at B-59 Defense Colony, New Delhi 110024, has already made an application under RTI to the Central Public Information Officer, Supreme Court of India, to locate if she has any mention anywhere in relevant records that can justify the suspicion.

Singhvi resigning from the Parliamentary Standing Committee sans any disapproval thereof by the Congress party that had given him that position and getting dropped from party positions such as the party chief in its department of law and justice and party spokesmanship, has given the public clear indication that his close colleagues in the Congress do not accept his claim that the “contents of the CD” are “certainly not” true.

In the circumstances, it is essential for Singhvi to come out of the cocoon of out-of-court settlement that he has weaved with his driver projected as the manufacturer of the video and convince the country that he does not know the lady in the said video and in reality the male satyr therein is not he.

The matter getting murkier everyday with serious implications for body politic as well as for judiciary, it is essential for the Court to elicit from the driver the details of how he morphed Singhvi into the sexual act and to test his version on the matrix of science in different labs including foreign labs within its discretion and under secrecy to be disclosed along with the final verdict.

Appropriate examination of the video can also determine if it is morphed or genuine.

These are urgent and unavoidably essential necessities.

Pending this essential, it is urgent for the Congress to ask Singhvi to resign from the Rajyasabha or else, for the parliament to refer him to a competent court to know if he is not of “unsound mind”.

Satyriasis as viewable in the video is a mental disorder and the shenanigans so far observed are indicative of abnormal developments. Both the phenomena may be interpreted as effects of unsound mind.

The Constitution of India under Article 102 (1) (b) has stipulated that “a person shall be disqualified for being chosen as, and for being, a member of either House of Parliament – if he is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent court”.

The development, when the person is already a member, protected under parliamentary privileges, makes it necessary for the Parliament to test whether or not the person is of “unsound mind”, so that, democracy, of which the Parliament is the protector, does not go haywire.

Pending this determination, Singhvi should be made to quit the Parliament till at least it is proved that the male satyr in the sex video is not he.

Orissa Government Forgets to Amend Information Rule: Activists Serve on Chief Secretary A Reminder

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Orissa State Government was ultimately convinced that the Rules it had framed and promulgated in 2005 for implementation of the Right to Information Act was deficient and urgent amendment to the said Rules (RTI Rules, 2005) was necessary to make it effective. Accordingly, last year, it had invited suggestions from the general public for amendment of the Rules.

Odisha Soochana Adhikar Abhijan (OSAA), a platform of Civil Society Groups spearheading campaign for effective implementation of RTI Act in the State had submitted  a memoranda of suggested amendments to the Rules in response to the government invitation. But, though it was in 2010, the State Government has not taken any further step in the matter. It looks, as if the issue has been forgotten.

A delegation of OSAA comprising Mr. Pradip Pradhan,  Mrs. Usharani Behera, Mr. Tapan Mohapatra and Mr. Raj Kishor Singh have submitted last week a reminder to Chief Secretary of Orissa Mr. Bijay Patnaik, demanding to bring in the amendments to Orissa RTI Rules,2005 without any further delay. Mr. Patnaik, a press release by OSAA says, has assured  the RTI Activists to take positive steps  in this regard .  
 

Information Obstructed On Wrongful Claim Of Cost

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Public Information Officer of Orissa Information Commission is alleged to have contravened the Right to Information Act by obstructing information under wrongful claim of cost thereof whereas the Chief Information Commission has not yet granted any relief on the complaint filed against the PIO.

Raising this allegation, Pradip Pradhan, an eminent RTI activist, has cited an instance that shows how an applicant has been asked to deposit fees for the information required even though he being a person below the poverty line is exempted from paying any such fee.

According to Pradhan, “On 23.3.09 and 25.3.09, Mr. Kunja Bihari Patra, a BPL person of Nayagarh district submitted two RTI Applications to Orissa Information Commission seeking some information about its functioning. In his replies dated 21.4.09 (letter no. 4260/OIC) and (letter no. 4265/OIC) the PIO of the Commission asked Mr.Patra to deposit Rs.78/- and Rs.48/- respectively towards cost of information. The shocked applicant has filed a complaint case against arbitrary orders of PIO of the Commission before the Chief Information Commissioner under Section 18 of RTI Act with a prayer for getting the requested information free of cost and for severe penalty against PIO
under Section 20 of RTI Act.”

Section 7(5) of the Act stipulates that the “fee prescribed under sub-section (1)
of section 6 ( application fee) and sub-section (1) ( cost of information) and (5) ( cost of information in printed or any electronic format) of section 7 shall be reasonable and no such fee shall be charged from the persons who are below poverty line as
determined by the appropriate Govt.”

Patra’s complaint is yet to obtain a decision.