Sunday , March 24 2019

Telangana: Man Fined, Family Ostracized for Filing RTI Plea

Telangana: A 31-year-old man was fined Rs 60,000 and later ostracized with his family on a RTI petition he filed to inquire about irregularities suspected in electrical transformers installed in his village in the district of  Nizamabad.

RTI plea in Nizambad Telangana
RTI plea in Telangana’s Nizamabad district.

B Raju Goud, a swimmer in the village of Nandipet G G Nadikuda, and his family were ostracized Monday by the village development committee which oversees the implementation of various development work there.

The villagers even refused to talk to him and his family because the committee imposed a fine of Rs 3,000 on anyone who found them talking.

“There was no milk and water at my residence. Nobody buys us. No shopkeeper sells us supplies or vegetables, “Goud told HT. Currently, he goes to the neighboring village Gadepalli for provisions and other requirements.

B Raju Goud had filed an RTI plea seeking information about alleged irregularities in the installation of electric transformers in his village in Telangana’s Nizamabad district.

“Except a couple of friends from the neighboring village, no one cares about my family,” he said, adding that the committee intends to drive them out of the village. “We live here for 50 years.”

It all began with Goud filing a petition with the local electricity utility in May 2016 under the RTI Act, seeking information on the supply of electrical transformers to the village, as he suspected that defective transformers were being supplied, Which led to the electrocution of his cattle last year. He sought to know the process followed in the acquisition of transformers.

“When the village development committee heard about it, the members called me and asked me about my right to file the RTI petition. The committee unanimously passed a resolution imposing a penalty of Rs 60,000 on the pretext that my petition would result in the cessation of supply of processors to the village, “said Goud.

After much argument, members of the committee finally told him that they would reimburse the money if the Department of Energy had no problems over the next six months.

“I had no choice but to pay the penalty by mortgaging my wife’s gold,” he added, adding that he did not pursue the RTI petition because of threats from the committee.

Goud waited until March 13 of this year and made a representation to the committee seeking the return of his money, as there was no problem of the Department of Electricity.

“But they refused to return my money, saying that once the fine was paid, it could not be returned,” he said.

Having no other choice, Goud filed a complaint with the Nandipet police on the same day. “That annoyed the members of the committee, who passed a resolution ostracizing me and my family,” he lamented.

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Although none of the committee members were available for comment, V Rajeshwar, the local village revenue officer, confirmed that Goud was ostracized.

“But there is no written order from the committee to that effect. We will investigate the matter and take appropriate action, “he said.

“A case was filed under Articles 384 (Money-Forced Extortion) and 506 (Criminal Intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code. We will take action against the accused once we have established prima facie evidence,” Declared the sub-inspector of Nandipet, John Reddy.

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Telangana: Man Fined, Family Ostracized for Filing RTI Plea
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