Enquire death threats to 'whistleblower': CIC to police chief

New Delhi: Voicing concern over death threats being received by a whistle blower who claimed to have exposed a fake ration cards racket, the Central Information Commission has directed the Delhi Police to inquire into the complaint and ensure that he is not harmed.

"The Commission has taken this matter with utmost seriousness. There have been numerous instances of RTI applicants being threatened, attacked and murdered," Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi said and also directed the Delhi Government to conduct an inquiry into the alleged racket and submit its report before March 10.

The case relates to an urgent plea filed by Ram Sagar who had sought information on his application for a new biometric ration card in place of an old card. The applicant Sagar alleged that a biometric ration card had already been issued on his name and address without his knowledge.

Sagar alleged that after filing the application, two masked men knocked at his door in the night and threatened to kill him if he pursued the matter any more.

He said that he fears for his life. Taking cognisance of Sagar's plea, Gandhi wrote to the Delhi Police Commissioner.

The "Commission taking cognisance of the matter under the powers vested in it by Section 18 of the Right to Information Act, 2005, hereby directs you to inquire into his complaint which is attached herewith and ensure that no physical harm is caused to the complainant," he said.

The Commissioner also directed the Secretary, Food and Civil Supplies of Delhi Government to carry out investigations into the allegations of fake ration card racket.

"The Commission must act as Parens Patrice in such matters so as to protect the citizen's right to information, and remove any hindrances that may be faced in the exercise of such a right," it said.

Gandhi directed the Secretary to issue necessary directions to the concerned Assistant Commissioner, FSO and any other officials connected with this matter to ensure that the appellant is not intimidated in any manner.

In a separate case related for harassment of BPL card holders, Gandhi found that genuine candidates are not getting due entitlements and awarded a compensation of Rs 2000 to one of them.

"Even after such a long period the Department has been unable to tell a BPL card holder why he is not getting his due entitlements. This shows that the government's programme to ensure that the poor get their entitlement has not been able to deliver even in the capital of this country because of gross inefficiency," Gandhi lamented.