|Name Rinku Rahi|
This Whistleblower Got Hit By Six Bullets, But He Is Still Fighting
Rinku Singh Rahi (born 1982) is an Indian whistleblower and bureaucrat (Provincial Civil services (PCS) civil servant) fighting against corruption in sponsored welfare schemes in Uttar Pradesh (UP). He was shot six times by local gangsters, damaging his jaw and the vision of one eye, for exposing corruption.
- This Whistleblower Got Hit By Six Bullets But He Is Still Fighting
- Life and early career
- Corruption scandal
- RTI request
- Armed attack
- Police investigation
- Inquiry committee
- Hunger strike
- Second scam
- Psych ward
Rinku Singh Rahi has been fighting corruption in his own department and state-run schemes since 2009. He was denied access to information on his own department. Instead, an attempt on his life was made allegedly at the behest of Principal Secretary Navtej Singh, and other department officials during the Mayawati government. He started a hunger strike in Lucknow hoping the Akhilesh Yadav government would pay heed to his demands for a reply on his pending RTI application; a criminal investigationinto the corruptions charges; and act against miscreants but instead was admitted to a psychiatric ward.
Life and early career
He was born at Aligarh in a lower middle-class Jatav family on 20 May 1982. He did his elementary schooling in Aligarh and completed his BTech degree in Metallurgy at NIT, Jamshedpur in 2002. In the same year, he scored All India 17th rank in GATE that assured him a seat in his desired stream at any top technological institute. He opted for a civil service career instead. In pursuit of his objective, he undertook various civil services examinations/interviews. Having passed the Uttar Pradesh Provincial Civil Services examination in 2004, he was posted as District social welfare officer at Muzaffarnagar in 2008.
He showed interest in social development from his early years and took initiative in establishing a "Library" and "Adult education center" at Aligarh. He was then posted as a coordinater at the state-run coaching institute for IAS and IPS aspirants from the Dalit community at Aligarh.
As of 2012 he is posted in Badhohi constituency of Sant Ravidas Nagar district as a social welfare officer.
The social welfare department at Muzaffarnagar distributes over 400 million rupees annually to beneficiaries under various state-run welfare schemes. Rahi ordered an inquiry into the allocation of funds over the last five years, soon after he arrived. He found serious discrepancies:
Rahi complained to his seniors and also informed Bhuvneesh Kumar, a District Magistrate of Muzaffaranagar, about the irregularities. According to Kumar:
Rinku Singh filed RTI application on 28 November 2007, but never received a reply within the mandatory period of 30 days. He followed up by filing a complaint at Central Information Commission(CIC) under section 18 of the Commission. CIC issued a notice to Public Information Officer(PIO) for explanation and demanded he supply the information within the mandated time. PIO replied to CIC on 2 February 2009. CIC then directed PIO to provide the information on two of five queries. CIC rejected the remaining three queries, claiming they did not fall within the definition of "Information" as defined in the RTI Act.
After Rahi's complaints, armed miscreants shot him six time when he was playing badminton on the morning of 26 March 2009. His jaw was severely damaged and he lost the vision of one eye, but survived.
Police later found that the attack was carried out by local gangsters at the behest of welfare department officials. Police arrested nine people, including Mukesh Chaudhary, a SP leader, and Ashok Kashyap, an Assistant accountant at the welfare department. According to police, Mukesh Chaudhary was annoyed that Rahi did not sanction scholarships for some students and Ashok Kashyap was annoyed as Rahi had ordered a departmental inquiry into the alleged corruption.
Kumar issued an order to attach the property of Chaudary.
After Rahi was attacked, an inquiry committee was set up under Alka Tandon, director of social selfare department – Meerut. The committee found no records of funds spent in the last five years by the Social welfare, corroborating Rahi's allegations. The committee also found embezzlement to the tune of 100 million rupees, associated with various welfare schemes in 2009, according to Narendra Kumar Chowdhary, Social welfare department director. The Committee submitted the report with findings that included:
The report also hinted that the local officials of the education department's involvement in the malpractices of Scholarship scheme. The inquiry team found accounting discrepancies to the tune of millions of rupees in almost all the schemes.
Speaking at a one-day token fast launched at Jantar Mantar on 25 March 2012 by Anna Hazare, a Social activist, Rahi announced that he too would undertake a hunger strike starring 26 March 2012 at Lucknow, in part because his RTI request had been rejected.
Rahi said that he had information that of around 600 to 700 million rupees that were allocated to Muzaffarnagar's Social welfare department in 2008–09, a large amount was unused. He believed that the reply to the RTI application would expose another scam in the department. According to Rahi:
Rahi also said that he had compromised by limiting his request to one year, having been told that details for other years were not available.
Lucknow police, intending to disrupt the protest after midnight, first brought in doctors to check his condition and forcibly evicted him from the protest site. They tried to get him admitted first to a local hospital and then to a psychiatric ward of a medical college.
UP government on 28 March 2012 formed a "two-member committee" to probe Rahi's allegations. Awadesh Pradesh, Social welfare minister, said:
Facing criticism and media coverage, he was transferred to his hometown, Aligarh. In addition, to the media censure Arvind Kejriwal, a Civil society activist, criticised the government crackdown on Rahi saying:
He continued to protest in Aligarh. He was given an insignificant position – as a coordinator at Bhimrao Ambedkar coaching centre.