MP RTI activist killed due to campaign to expose graft: Fact-finding report

Based on RTI replies, Ranjeet Soni had filed complaints to various authorities including Lokayukta, PWD and MP Chief Minister’s Office seeking appropriate action into the allegations

Representative image
Representative image

NH Web Desk

Over month after RTI activist Ranjeet Soni was shot dead in Madhya Pradesh’s Vidisha at a government office, a report released by a fact-finding team noted that he had been under immense pressure from local government contractors to stop his activities.

The team – comprising of Anjali Bhardwaj, Rolly Shivhare and Amrita Johri, members of working committee of National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information; Ajay Dubey, board member of Transparency International, India, and Santosh Malviya who works with Dubey in Madhya Pradesh – travelled to Vidisha to meet the family of Soni, killed on June 2.

Soni’s widow Gayatri was quoted as saying that he was most recently pursuing issues related to fake Fixed Deposit Receipts (FDRs) made by certain contractors in collusion with officials to bid for government contracts.

Soni himself was a contractor on government works but had quarreled and stopped working with two of those arrested for his murder – Jaswant Raghuvanshi and S. Kumar Choube.

The local police have arrested three others, including the alleged shooter Ankit Yadav.

Soni had been using the RTI Act to access details of public works and government expenditure and would file complaints against irregularities he had noticed. Local journalists told the fact-finding team that over 130 RTI requests had been filed by him.

Soni had not just been collecting information but also seeking redress.

Based on the RTI replies, he filed complaints to various authorities including the Lokayukta, public works department and the Chief Minister’s Office seeking appropriate action into the allegations.

“A perusal of the RTI applications filed by him show that in several cases he was seeking information which in any case should have been proactively disclosed by the concerned public authority as required under Section 4 of the RTI Act,” the fact-finders’ report notes.

“In our view, the connection between Ranjeet’s murder and his use of the RTI Act to access information and expose alleged corruption/irregularities cannot be denied,” the team notes in the report.

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines