Citizens' Issues
Abhishek, we will miss you terribly...

Our ever-smiling and hard-working colleague, Abhishek Rajak, who used to upload all the content and pictures on Moneylife.in, died in a tragic railway accident last night. We are grief-stricken  

It is with deep grief that we at Moneylife share with you the news, that our dear colleague, young Abhishek Rajak, died in an alleged railway accident last night. Like any other day, the bubbly youngster was on his way home. He was to have taken the 7.47pm Kalyan fast (15 coaches) local to reach Dombivali. He never made it.

When his father called at 10.30pm to check if he had been working late, we began to make frantic calls. Well known railway activist Samir Zaveri made calls to the railway helplines. He also asked a colleague to call the Government Railways Police (GRP) numbers at Dadar Station. At that time, he was told that Abhishek had been detained on suspicion but had been released. When Abhishek’s mother called the same number, she too was told that he had been detained and released 10 minutes ago. His mobile phone was still switched off.

After waiting for him to arrive at Dombivali station until 11.30pm, we began to worry again. Another round of calls started.  Our journalist friends also chipped in to help.

Rajendra Aklekar, Senior Assistant Editor of Mumbai Mirror, called several of his sources in the railway police. Varun Singh of Mid-Day met the GRP at Kalyan and also showed Abhishek’s photograph, which we had tweeted. Through all this, several of us were taking turns to call Abhishek’s number, just in case he switched it on again.

At 12.45pm came the deadly shock. Abhishek’s brother Amit again tried calling on his mobile. And this time, a police received the call and after making inquiry asked Amit to reach Diva station immediately. When Amit and his father reached Diva station, they saw the police loading a stretcher  in luggage compartment of a local train going towards Thane. Then Amit saw Abhishek lying dead on the stretcher.

We have lost a wonderful colleague, who was always smiling, hard working, every ready for challenges and on the threshold of life. Words cannot describe the loss we feel.

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COMMENTS

Veeresh Malik

2 years ago

Latest response from Central Railways is that they know nothing about this vendor. They can not trace the vendor who was doing the recordings.

Veeresh Malik

2 years ago

Despite many attempts by Central Railways to wriggle out of providing a cogent response, we continue to follow-up here, and on one level are following up as per procedure with the Chairman, Railway Board as well as PMO on this case.

After one RTI Application was summarily dismissed, I went into First Appeal as well as escalated the issue, and have now received the full correspondence on the subject. In addition there has been some anonymous input also which shall be sent to the relevant authorities, since I am now trying to get the matter escalated beyond the present Central Railways/RPF.

This is the next series of questions I have asked.

+++

Vide response to PG filed online MORLY/E/2014/14616 and response No.G/190/PG/12/2014/RB-480 signed (S.M. Kelkar), Assistant Secretary (PG), General Managers Office, Central Railway, Mumbai CST 400 001 regarding Sonal Enterprises and CCTV at Dadar Central, please provide me with full information on-

1) Full details and addresses of Sonal Enterprises said to be maintaining CCTV at Dadar Central Railway Station on 17th April 2014, including names and addresses of proprietors or owners or Directors.

2) Full information on basis by which Sonal Enterprises were selected for this work at Dadar Central.

3) Full information on other locations under Central Railway where they have been selected in the past or now for any work from Indian Railways.

4) What are terms and condition of Sonal Enterprises contract with Central Railways or Indian Railways.

5) Under what tender or contract were Sonal Enterprises selected.

6) How many people do Sonal Enterprises employ.

7) What is EPFO registration number of Sonal Enterpris and amount paid in as per returns for FY 2013-2014.

8) What is ESI Registration number of Sonal Enteprise and amount paid in as per returns for FY 2013-2014.

9) What is Maharashtra State Professional Tax registration details of Sonal Enterprise and amount paid in as per returns for FY 2013-2014.

10) What is Service Tax registration and details of Sonal Enterprise and amount paid in as per returns for FY 2013-2014.

11) Where is the control room for the CCTVs set up by Sonal Enterprises for Dadar Railway Station.

Thank you.

Veeresh Malik

2 years ago

I am still following up on this despite bunch of evasive answers from CR in Mumbai. Have moved further enquiries with Railway Board in Delhi as well as the investigation authorities and hope to see some results. Meanwhile this has also happened.

http://www.moneylife.in/article/railways...

Veeresh Malik

3 years ago

To: Chairman, Railway Board,
New Delhi

Greetings and Jai Hind.

1) Please find enclosed response received from Office of General Manager, Central Railway, Mumbai.

2) This response is in direct contrast to actual events of 17th and 18th July 2014 as per media reports enclosed herein.

http://www.moneylife.in/article/abhishek...

http://www.moneylife.in/article/central-...

3) A "public grievance", as defined by our Prime Minister, is not a "representation". It is a grievance AGAINST a particular government agency. How that same agency within Government can respond to that very grievance, especially when it pertains to a crime resulting in death, is not understood.

By way of information, I am adding this response as well as my response to another set of Public Grievances currently filed also with other Government agencies. It is obvious that the Office of General Manager of Central Railways has not applied full effort, because nobody has contacted any of the people who actually were informed that Abhishek Rajak had been reportedly detained by Central Railway at Dadar prior to his death.

Sincerely,

Veeresh Malik

REPLY

Michael Mason-Mahon

In Reply to Veeresh Malik 3 years ago

I do wish you all the best in obtaining all the information. So that Abbishek's family.

Kind regards
Michael

Michael Mason-Mahon

In Reply to Veeresh Malik 3 years ago

I do wish you all the best in obtaining all the information. So that Abbishek's family.

Kind regards
Michael

Veeresh Malik

3 years ago


[email protected]
17:06 (9 minutes ago)

to me
No.G.190/PG/7/2014/RB-176

Dear Sir,

Your representation has been examined in detail by the concerned
department and it is to state that no person by name mentioned was
detained at PRF/Thane Dadar on 17.07.2014, also the CCTV on the particular
date were working and correctly positioned.

Further, enquires revealed that Dy.SS/Diva informed Government Railway
Police, Thane about an unknown male body lying near Diva station. Later
the diseased was identified and information was given to his parents about
accident. Shri Rajkumar Rajak father of the deceased Late Shri Abhishek
Rajak, has not mentioned any incident about detention of his son at Dadar.

This is for your information please.

Yours Sincerely,


(P.N. Ramachandran)
Assistant Secretary (PG)
General Manager’s Office
Central Railway
Mumbai CST – 400 001
Ph: 022 - 22754030, 22697115


+++

This is one official response I have received. Am pursuing through other avenues also.

Sucheta Dalal

3 years ago

Dear Friends

On behalf of all of us at Moneylife and Moneylife Foundation, please accept out thanks for your messages of condolence. We are really touched.

We are still trying to find out what really happened but without much success so far.

Many friends and colleagues are trying to help, including those from our safe rail group and our consulting editor Veeresh Malik from Delhi.

Let us all work towards making rail travel safer by participating in effort to make the system accountable!

Thank you once again for your kind messages and concern!

w regards

Sucheta Dalal

REPLY

Veeresh Malik

In Reply to Sucheta Dalal 3 years ago

If anybody gets a phone call from any agency claiming to be investigating this death then please -

1) Convince yourself about the said agency by asking for a landline number and name as well as number of the senior person in that office.

2) Making a call back to that number to establish the genuineness of the person.

3) Responding that all information is as per the article already given and nothing more to add.

I received a call from 9004449817 and am not able to get more information on who and why was calling me.

Thanks / Veeresh

Nagesh Kini

In Reply to Sucheta Dalal 3 years ago

WE MUST NOT REST TILL WE GET JUSTICE DONE.

chan

3 years ago

I have been receiving some emails by his name giving details of moneylife programmes. May his soul rest in peace. Moneylife team should investigate the reasons of his untimely death.

Shubhankar Bhardwaj

3 years ago

Deeply saddened by this terrible news.

Heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of Abhishek.

Their can never be a pain greater than losing a young son. May the almighty give strength to the parents to cope up with this terrible loss...

Veeresh Malik

3 years ago

Please also see related article on this issue and PGs filed by me there, and it will be helpful especially if non-Mumbai people can file paralel/pincer PGs by copy-pasting same.

http://www.moneylife.in/article/central-...

Viswanathan

3 years ago

It is tragic that a young life is extinguished suddenly. The guilty must be punished

Nagesh Kini

3 years ago

From what little I know of Abishek, the entire tragedy smells extremely fishy and there's certainly more than meets the eye and this has be followed up vigorously to get to the bottom of the truth to ensure such instances are never repeated.
1. Why was he 'detained' at all? He was so puny and simple looking that there is no reason for anyone whatsoever to raise an iota of suspicion.
2.I doubt whether the grounds for detention are recorded at all. This has to be looked into.
3. Surely he'd have carried his MoneyLife ID card.

Harwant

3 years ago

I feel very sad to hear of the untimely loss of a young and brilliant son of India.

You would always live in our memories.

It is not at all clear as to what happened! The death must be investigated and action taken.

shadi katyal

3 years ago

I will request Money life to pursue the issue and find out what happened and why? You as a daily news magazine has more power than the poor parents who will be led from pole to pillar. We all feel that truth should come out and will give peace to the family.

Ravi Chopra

3 years ago

Distressed and angry to hear about the untimely and senseless death of your young colleague. Must bring the guilty to book.

Jayesh Jethalal Bhadasia

3 years ago

Am too very sorry after knowing about his tragic death.

Sensex, Nifty may struggle to move higher – Thursday closing report
Keeping themselves above Wednesday’s low, the Indian indices moved mostly in a range throughout the session on Thursday. Positive data from the US also helped to keep the momentum going.
 
S&P BSE Sensex opened at 25,541 while the NSE's CNX Nifty opened at 7,613, which was also its intra-day low. Sensex hit a low of 25,494. From the lows, the benchmarks reached up to 25,613 and 7,656. After hitting their respective highs, the indices tried keeping themselves higher. During this period, the indices witnessed volatile moves.
 
Sensex closed at 25,561 (up 11 points or 0.04%) while Nifty closed at 7,640 (up 16 points or 0.21%). The NSE recorded a volume of 89.87 crore shares. India VIX rose 1.60% to close at 14.9650.
 
Except for Realty (0.59%), Finance (0.17%) and Auto (0.11%) all the other Asian indices closed in the green. The top five gainers were Metal (2.49%), Commodities (1.69%), Nifty Midcap 50 (1.56%), Infra (1.50%) and Smallcap (1.49%).
 
Of the 50 stocks on the Nifty, 31 ended in the green. The top five gainers were Tata Power (3.72%), Grasim (3.27%), Kotak Mahindra Bank (3.18%), ACC (3.06%) and Hindalco (3.02%). The top five losers were M&M (3.28%), IDFC (2.48%), Bajaj Auto (2.34%), DLF (1.66%) and ONGC (1.20%).
 
Of the 1,598 companies on the NSE, 1,032 companies closed in the green, 500 companies closed in the red while 66 companies closed flat.
 
With the monsoon covering the entire country, though delayed, it is 15% below average in the past week, which is better as compared to the earlier weeks where it was around 40% below average.
 
Achieving the budgetary target of Rs 6.24 lakh crore in indirect tax collection during the current fiscal will be a challenge, a senior Finance Ministry official said today. The amount budgeted Rs6.24 lakh crore from indirect tax collection in 2014-15 is around 25% higher than the indirect tax mop-up (revised estimates) last fiscal.
 
With the positive move in the budget by raising export duty on bauxite companies like Hindalco may be benefitted by this move. Hindalco hit its 52-week high today and was the top gainer (3.91%) in the Sensex 30-pack.
 
Mahindra & Mahindra (3.18%), top loser in the ‘A’ group on the BSE and the top loser in the Sensex 30 stock, traded ex-dividend today. The company filed its shareholding pattern for June 2014 quarter on Wednesday, which saw an increase in the FII holding from 36.92% in March 2014 quarter to 39.24% in June 2014 quarter, while DIIs holding fell marginally from 15.88% to 15.52%. 
 
Crompton Greaves (up 13.45%) was the top gainer in the ‘A’ group on the BSE. Its board of directors at its annual strategic review meeting proposed to demerge its consumer products business unit into a separate listed company. The board believes that such a demerger will create better growth opportunities for its two large but significantly different businesses - power, industrial and automation which are B2B business, and the consumer products business which is B2C. The board has constituted a committee of directors to examine all relevant aspects of the process of demerger and listing and make suitable recommendations to the board.
 
US indices closed Wednesday in the positive. The Federal Reserve said in its Beige Book business survey released on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 that economic growth was modest to moderate in the latest period as all 12 of its districts reported stronger consumer spending and expanded manufacturing.
 
Except for Straits Times (0.07%) and Seoul Composite (0.37%) all the other Asian indices closed in the negative. Jakarta Composite (0.84%) was the top loser.
 
European indices were in the red and US Futures too were trading lower on the news that Housing starts fell to a nine-month low in June, and US and European Union imposed sanctions on Russian banks, energy companies and defense firms in the latest attempt to pressure the country to end support for Ukranian rebels.
 

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26/11 Call log records case: Did Maharashtra SCIC avoid giving an order that is actually effective?

Maharashtra SCIC Ratnakar Gaikwad may have made sharp observations about Mumbai Police's dilly-dallying in providing information to Vinita Kamte. But did he issue an order that is beyond his jurisdiction? Did he avoid giving an order that is really effective?

Ratnakar Gaikwad, the Maharashtra State Chief Information Commission (SCIC) has made scathing observations about Mumbai Police's dilly-dallying in providing information to Vinita Kamte, asking the state government to set up a Commission headed by a judge to probe charges of tampering of call records during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, as Moneylife reported on Wednesday.
 
However, the question arises whether Mr Gaikwad issued an order that is beyond his jurisdiction? If so, what is the utility of such an order? Did he, thereby avoid giving an order that is really effective?

As readers may be aware, Ms Kamte's appeal was regarding discrepancy in the call log records of the 26/11 terror attack provided to her. She was given two separate sets of South Mumbai region police communication records, with different timings, pertaining to the Rang Bhavan Lane episode in which her husband, Ashok Kamte, along with two other top cops were killed.

Following this, Ms Kamte appealed before the SCIC. On 18 April 2013, the SCIC ordered that it is necessary to know that the information is not tampered with and so Additional Commissioner of Police (law and order) should conduct an inquiry and give hearing to the relevant officer and Vinita Kamte, and send the report without fail by 20 May 2013. Thereafter, the Additional Police Commissioner (crime) would be called for hearing under Section 18.  The report was submitted to the SCIC by Mumbai Police in the required time. It defended the discrepancies under the pretext that the earlier copy given to Vinita Kamte was a Xerox copy and did not bear the stamp of certification. However, the handwriting did not match in a few places and the timings written by hand also did not match in many places, says Vinita Kamte – some with a difference of even six minutes.

Ms Kamte also requested the SCIC to discard the police report and conduct a fresh inquiry. The SCIC then sent an order to Maharashtra's Additional Chief Secretary on 19 November 2013 to submit a report. However the officer simply forwarded the letter for an inquiry report on 1 December 2013 to the Police Commissioner of Mumbai.

The SCIC then asked Additional Police Commissioner Amitabh Ranjan, Rakesh Maria, then Additional Commissioner (Crime); Vivek Phansalkar, ACP (Admin); Dhananjay Kamlakar, ACP (law and order); Sanjay Barjund, ACP; and Mr Mukne, ACP to be present before it for an inquiry.

However, no officer was present for the inquiry. Two lawyers represented the police officers and shockingly, the lawyers representing Mumbai Police belittled the issue of tampering of call log records at the 6th June hearing.

On 9th July, Gaikwad made scathing observations about Rakesh Maria, the present Mumbai Police Commissioner. Gaikwad observed, that Maria deliberately chose to dodge giving Vinita Kamte the information she had asked for. He ordered that the state government, through the Chief Secretary, should institute a judicial probe by instituting a commission of inquiry under a serving or a retired judge. He quoted the Commission of Enquiry Act to justify his directive.

However, former Central Information Commissioner (CIC) Shailesh Gandhi states that an Enquiry under this Act can be instituted only after a nod from the Legislature or the Parliament, and the SCIC cannot ask for one of his own accord.

If this is so, in issuing an order that goes beyond his jurisdiction, did SCIC miss out on issuing a more powerful order that would come well within his jurisdiction? For example, why didn’t Gaikwad penalise the top brass of the Mumbai Police and other police personnel like the Public Information Officers (PIOs) and Appellate Authorities (AA), and invoke disciplinary action, thereby making his order legally sound and strong? Why did he put the onus on the state government instead?

Gaikwad’s observations in his 10-page order, issued on 9th July, specifically state that the police, despite his orders to probe and submit a report to him, took tampering of the call log records very casually. The discrepancies are very serious, considering that three officers lost their lives, he observed.

The order states that, it is suspicious that Maria, the then Additional Commissioner of Police(crime) who was also in-charge of the Police Control Room on 26/11, should have created hurdles in providing information to Vinita Kamte. Gaikwad also observes that although he has directed four top officials of the Mumbai Police, including Maria to personally attend the hearing, they merely sent their legal representatives. The order also mentions that top police officials defended their personnel who were responsible for the discrepancies in the two sets of the call log records. These observations in the order could become a source of embarrassment for the Mumbai Police as well as the State Government. So, why did he dilute his order by asking the Chief Secretary to set up another government body for probing the incident?

Leading RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar argues that, “The Intention, observations and reasoning given by Ratnakar Gaikwad in Vinita Kamte’s case are very good. However, I am sceptical whether its operative will stand in court of law or not. Also I don’t understand, when the SCIC had ample powers to penalise those responsible (the Mumbai Police) and recommend disciplinary action under Section 20 (2) of the RTI Act, why didn’t he use that? This would have put the top Mumbai Police officers on the mat. It would also have got legal status.”

“However,” Kumbhar says, “if you look at the other angle, which is more important than squabbling over whether his order is legal or not, the state government should suo motu institute a fresh enquiry. Gaikwad’s commentary has proved that there has been deliberate and malicious intention in hiding and also tampering with information regarding the call log records asked by Vinita Kamte. I would say considering the public sentiment and all the police personnel and civilians who were killed in the 26/11 terror attack, the State Government should not have even have waited for this report.”

Gaikwad has quoted Section 19(8)(a) of the RTI Act, 2005 in his order, which states that:
(a) require the public authority to take any such steps as may be necessary to secure compliance with the provisions of this Act, including--
(i) by providing access to information, if so requested, in a particular form
(ii) by appointing a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be
(iii) by publishing certain information or categories of information
(iv) by making necessary changes to its practices in relation to the maintenance, management and destruction of records
(v) by enhancing the provision of training on the right to information for its officials
(vi) by providing it with an annual report in compliance with clause (b) of sub-section (1) of section 4


RTI activist and former CIC Gandhi said, “I am not sure if he (the SCIC) can give an order to the State Government, to institute an enquiry, but he can certainly ask it to enquire into the matter and submit a report. I feel the state government, if it feels that information provided was fudged or false information was provided as per observations of Gaikwad's order, it could institute a fresh enquiry commission. Alternatively, the state government could challenge this decision in the High Court. Or in case, the order props up a political wheels-within-wheels situation, then may be it might institute an enquiry – you never know.”

Vinita Kamte says, “Since the last five years I have been pursuing the case of allegedly tampered call log records given to me under RTI. Observations in the SCIC's report reiterate the suspicion that the Mumbai Police is deliberately trying to suppress information. My stand is vindicated with his order.”

In conclusion, one wonders why, after such a relentless pursuit for truth from the SCIC's side, the order should have kicked up a ping-pong ball kind of a situation.
 

Dehli High Court in the matter in WP (C) 12714/2009 ( DDA Vs CIC) has observed:
“Section 18, which has been set out above, deals with the powers and functions of the Central Information Commission as also the State Information Commission. Sub-section (1) stipulates that it shall be the duty of the Information Commission to receive and ―inquire into a complaint from any person where any of the conditions mentioned in clauses (a) to (f) are satisfied. Sub-section (2) of Section 18 stipulates that the Information Commission, if it is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to inquire into the matter, may initiate an ―inquiry in respect thereof.”

Sub-section (3) of Section 18 provides that the Information Commission shall, ―while inquiring into any matter under Section 18, have the same powers as are vested in a civil court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 in respect of the matters specified in the said provision which, inter alia, includes summoning and enforcing the attendance of the persons and compelling them to give oral or written evidence on oath or to produce the documents or things, etc. Section 18(4) empowers the Information Commission to examine any record to which the RTI Act applies, which is under the control of the public authority, during the ―inquiry of any complaint under the said Act. It also stipulates that no such record may be withheld from the Commission on any grounds.

It is apparent that all the sub-sections of Section 18 refer to the powers of the Information Commission to inquire into a complaint. Section 18(2) deals with the initiation of inquiry by the Information Commission. Section 18(3) spells out the powers of the Information Commission while conducting such an inquiry and Section 18(4) empowers the Information Commission to examine any record to which the RTI Act applies during the course of inquiry by the Information Commission. It is clear from all these provisions that the inquiry that is contemplated under Section 18 is an inquiry by the Information Commission itself. There is no provision for an inquiry to be conducted by any other committee for and on behalf of the Information Commission.

Insofar as the provisions of Section 19, which pertain to appeals, are concerned, the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission in its decision in an appeal, has the power to, inter alia, require the public authority to take such steps as may be necessary to secure compliance with the provisions of the RTI Act which obviously includes the provisions of Section 4 which spells out the obligations of the public authorities. Section 19(8)(a)(vi) clearly indicates that the Information Commission has the power to require a public authority to provide the Information Commission with an annual report in compliance with clause (b) of sub-section (1) of Section 4. There is nothing in Section 19 which empowers an Information Commission, be it the Central or the State Commission, to constitute any committee to initiate or conduct any inquiry for and on its behalf.

It is clear that there is no provision under the RTI Act which empowers the Central Information Commission or, for that matter, the State Information Commission, to appoint a committee for conducting an inquiry for and on its behalf. The power of inquiry under Section 18, which has been given to the Central and the State Information Commissions is confined to an inquiry by the concerned Information Commission itself. There can be no delegation of this power to any other committee or person.Delegatus non potest delegare” is a well-known legal maxim which means – in the absence of any power, a delegate cannot sub-delegate its power to another person.’’




(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)

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COMMENTS

Hemlata Mohan

3 years ago

If we as Indians are not willing to give the correct information on the matter of death of a police officer in the gruesome 26/11 episode, how can we expect Pakistan to come clean? Isn't it ridiculous?

SuchindranathAiyerS

3 years ago

Knowing India's bureaucracy, police and judiciary and their penchant for applying their intelligence to work-around laws, rules, public interests and national interests at the behest of the generous wealthy and politically powerful; I would say, "Yes".

MOHAN SIROYA

3 years ago

Kudso to Vinita for such an insightful illustrative analysis.
I tend to agree with the former CIC and activist Sailesh Gandhi's views that such an order from SCIC to order the State Government for appointing an Inquiry Commission on this sensitive issue to CULL OUT THE FACTS ,may be beyond SCIC's jurisdiction and power. He should have rightly done as mandated in RTI, to impose Fine and State Govt. to institute a disciplinary action for failure to comply with the RTI provisions by the top Police personnel.

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