In what turns out to be a sinister attempt to scrub all news about the murder of Right to Information (RTI) activist, Satish Shetty, Moneylife received an email, purportedly from his wife, in the name of a Mukta Shetty asking for reports about his murder to be removed from our website, because it causes pain to the family.
While our initial reaction was a dilemma about whether the sentiments of the family should take precedence over legitimate news that needs to be in the public domain, the facts turned out to be more dubious. Satish Shetty, a dogged RTI activist was murdered in 2010. When we shared the email (see below) of the ostensible wife and sought to confirm its authenticity, we were in for a big surprise. Noted RTI activist, Vijay Kumbhar of Pune wrote back to say that Satish Shetty was unmarried.
Mr Kumbhar spoke to Sandeep, brother of Satish Shetty, who has been following the murder investigation zealously. Mr Kumbhar told us, "I read that story. It does not harm Satish or his family's reputation in any way. I just spoke to Satish's brother Sandeep Shetty and informed him about this mail. He said it should be probed."
Web-cleaning service providers routinely write to websites requesting for articles, which show their clients in bad light be removed or unpublished from websites. Some offer to pay for the removal (and this appears to be working, since news about various scams is fast vanishing from simple searches), some shady operators also issue subtle threats. The report in this case referred to the following article: 'IRB offered Satish Shetty over Rs2 crore, reveals CBI report
' published by Moneylife on 22 August 2014.
The attempt to scrub the internet of news about Satish Shetty's murder suggests that some powerful forces are interested in the matter and willing to pay for it. If the email and its IP address are tracked, it would surely provide some clues as to who these persons are and what is their interest in burying the reports. As per a preliminary search, this email appears to be sent from the US with a hostname of mxsvr.net.
Here is the email we received…
Moneylife has been writing about the gruesome murder of Talegaon-based Satish Shetty, the first such killing of an RTI activist in Maharashtra. It has been six years since the murder of Shetty, but the case is still carrying on at a snail's pace. The Satish Shetty Murder case, the first for an RTI activist in the country, was pulled out from Pune Police, which was dilly-dallying over the investigations. At the complaint and pursuance of his brother Sandeep and the Shetty family and directives from the Bombay High Court, the case was transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
In April this year, in a big breakthrough, the CBI arrested BR Andhalkar, former Police Inspector of Crime Branch at Pune. Allegedly, Andhalkar has conspired and manipulated evidences to shield the real killers of Shetty. In its release, the CBI had said, "During investigation, it has emerged that the then Police Inspector (Andhalkar) of Local Crime Branch, Pune had allegedly conspired with others and fabricated and manipulated evidences to shield the real conspirators and killers. Further investigation is continuing."
Moneylife had earlier reported that, the 13 persons were named as accused by slain RTI activist Satish Shetty in a land grab case along the Pune-Mumbai expressway through forging of documents, in the first information report (FIR) lodged by him at the Talegaon police station in October 2009. The names included the high profile owner of Ideal Road Builders (IRB), Virendra Mhaiskar, who is close to several top-notch politicians of Maharashtra, as well as a sub-registrar and others. It has been alleged that the subsequent brutal murder of Shetty on 13 February 2010, was closely linked to his lodging of his FIR of October 2009. In fact, the CBI stuck to this FIR as the motive for Satish Shetty's murder for a good four years, until as recently as 8 August 2014 and then suddenly changed course in the last three days.
The email, we received by one Mukta Shetty, is written in Hindi using English keyboard. Even the Hindi used in this email is very bad. For example, it says, "Mai mukta Sheety award winning RTI activist Satish Shetty ki wife hu. Humei is news se bohot dikkate hori hai" (I, Mukta Shetty is wife of award winning RTI activist Satish Shetty. We are facing issues due to this news). This email even talks about difficulties faced by 'their kids'! "Hamare bache jo ki apni zindagi mei aage badna chahte hai logo ki bate sun sun ke ghar se bahar nae nikalte hai. Humne bohot hi mushkilo se padhne likhne ki koshish ki hai taki apni zindagi mei aage bad sake apne bacho ko acha rasta dikhasake aur unko apne pita ki kami na mehsus na hone de par agar aise cheze hogi to hum kabhi apne pariwar ko sambhal nae payenge aur kabhi upar nae uthpayenge," it says. (Our kids are unable to move around after listening to people. We are trying very hard to move forward and provide good life to our children without letting them feel the absence of their father. But due to such things (published news article), we will never be able to move up in our lives.)
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