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A Pay and park racket involving railway officials exposed using RTI and Public Grievances
When journalist Anand Mishra of the Asian Age exposed the illegal car parking operator Rajaram Bhaiyalal Jayaswal, many were shocked to find that he was charged with milder sections of the RPF Act.
“In the fiscal year 2012-13, Central Railways (CR) earned Rs3.22 crore while in 2013-14, it earned Rs3.86 crore in lieu of giving its land to private contractors to run a pay-and-park facility,” Mishra had reported.
Mr Purohit who is an active volunteer of Moneylife Foundation's Samir Zaveri Railway Helpline, was quoted as saying that, “It was shocking to find out that the railway police officials at LTT took this scam so casually and imposed very lenient sections. Seeing that the approach of the officers was casual, I finally approached the railway court and now I believe the GRP will investigate the matter seriously.”
Instead of charging the accused under sections 420 (cheating),403 (misappropriation),405 (criminal breach of trust), 465 (forgery),468 (forgery for purpose of cheating),471 (using genuine forged document) and 474 (fraudulent collection), the operator was merely charged with section 144 (Prohibition on hawking) and 145B of Indian railway Act by the RPF officials.
The Railway Protection Force (RPF) is tasked with protecting railway property and prohibiting any trespassing. Shielding the offender is a breach of the code of behaviour under section 11 of the RFP Act. This behaviour of the officials raises various doubts and hints at a possible nexus between RPF and the pay-and-park operators.
The Government Railway Police (GRP) was ordered “to investigate the scam to conduct inquiry and take departmental action against Railway Protection Force (RPF) Personnel for misconduct” by the Bombay High Court on 26 September 2014.
Mr Purohit said, “Public Grievance and RTI works in redressing corrupt and illegal practices in Public Domain. But it takes efforts to bring public grievances to its logical conclusion.” says Mr Purohit.