Saturday, March 25, 2017

SHRC orders action against three senior cops for failing to protect RTI activist

Indian Express‎‎‎‎: Pune: Saturday, March 25, 2017.
Seven years after Right to Information (RTI) activist Satish Shetty was brutally murdered in Talegaon Dabhade, the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission has ruled that departmental action be taken against three police officers who were posted with Pune rural police at the time of the incident, for failing to provide police protection to Shetty despite the activist filing multiple applications seeking the same.
Shetty was the district co-ordinator of Bhrashtachar Virodhi Dakshata Samiti, an organisation fighting against corruption, and had exposed an alleged land scam through information he had received from responses to RTI applications. Subsequently, an offence was registered at the Lonavala city police station against 13 persons on October 15, 2009. Shetty started receiving threat calls from November 22. In the next two days, Shetty filed two applications with the superintendent of police, Pune rural, seeking police protection for himself and his family members.
Despite the applications, he never received any police protection. In the early hours of January 13, 2010, Shetty was stabbed to death. Two days after the murder, Akurdi-based social activist M D Chaudhary moved the Maharashtra Human Rights Commission, demanding action against the officers of Pune rural police.
Over the last seven years, the commissioner has held over 10 hearings in the case and recorded the deposition of officers from Maharashtra Police, as well as the CBI, which is now investigating the case.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Chaudhary said, “In its ruling on Thursday, the commission said departmental action be taken against three officers then additional superintendents of police Ramnath Pokale and Dilip Shinde, and then deputy superintendent Shrikrishna Kokate. The order to take action has been given to the state home ministry. The commission has also ordered a compensation Rs 15 lakh for Shetty’s family members, to be paid by the state government.”
“During these hearings, the commission has recorded depositions of representatives from the inspector general of Kolhapur range and officers of CBI teams from Delhi, Mumbai and Pune. From our side, we have demonstrated to the commission how there was a delay of around 50 days and how the file kept gathering dust on the tables of these three officers,” he added.
When contacted, Satish Shetty’s brother Sandeep, who has been fighting a legal battle to seek justice for his brother, said, “We really appreciate Chaudhary’s efforts; he has pursued the case before the Human Rights Commission. We do not expect any compensation from the state government but we want the state to ensure that justice is done in the case.”