Saluting the Tenacity of Two Brothers of Slain Whistle-blowers, Seeking Justice for Their Siblings
27 November 2003: Satyendra Dubey (30 years old) becomes one of the first whistle-blowers in the country to have been shot dead on this day and his body thrown on the roadside. His sin: He had exposed the corruption in the Rs60,000 crore Golden Quadrilateral highway construction project initiated in 2001 by the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
 
13 January 2010: Satish Shetty (38 years old) becomes the first RTI activist in the country who was shot dead in broad daylight during his morning walk. 
 
His sin: Through a series of RTI documents, he had unearthed a multi-crore land grab scam along the Pune-Mumbai expressway.
 
Thanks to a corrupt system, with an alleged nexus between the politicians, judiciary and the police, both the cases have not reached their logical end in terms of severe punishment to the culprits. The families live to bear the horrendous tragedies of their loved ones.
 
Dhananjay Dubey, younger brother of the late whistle-blower Dubey, was a teenager when the latter was killed. He is pursuing the case which has ended unsatisfactorily with three culprits jailed but the main ones missing. He states that he was unable to monitor this case for the last five to six years because of personal concerns and a sense of inadequacy. However, he feels that the investigation into his ‘Bhaiyya’’s murder was poorly conducted, as it concluded with a mere robbery. (Whistle-blower Dubey was carrying a briefcase in the autorickshaw that he was in and therefore this conclusion). This kind of justice, says the younger brother, is unacceptable and he says it emphasises the urgency to address these issues so that no other family or village undergoes such tragic consequences.
 
Mr Dubey strongly opines that to prevent further damage, comprehensive whistle-blower protection laws are essential. There should be a clear definition of what comprises whistle-blowing. Also, he stated that investigations should be robust, utilising technology for anonymous and secure reporting. He also believes that the legal protection should be solid to safeguard whistle-blowers from physical, financial, emotional, and career-related harm. The culprits, as well as the concerned authorities, should be held accountable for any lapses. Penalties should be enforced for those failing in whistle-blower protection implementation. Additionally, a well-thought-out reward mechanism should be established, acknowledging the efforts of whistle-blowers. 
 
As for Sandeep Shetty, brother of the late Satish Shetty, he has steadfastly pursued the matter with the police, the central bureau of investigation (CBI), the trial court, and the Bombay High Court (HC) for 13 years. Despite these efforts, there has been no substantive progress in the case. The CBI's closure report did not offer any notable observations in their submission. Additionally, a petition seeking a review of this decision was filed but, regrettably, there has been no further development.
 
However, Mr Shetty is optimistic and waiting for a miracle to happen. He states, “I would only say that this journey of over 13 years has taught me one thing: you fight without expectations and hope for miracles to happen. I have experienced such miracles during my prolonged fight for justice for my brother. Be it the miracle of finding an honest officer like S P Singh who, even after tremendous pressure from his superiors to water down the case and close it, filed incriminating evidence in the closure report. This has now given me ammunition to fight this legal battle where, on one end, I was stifled by the system so that I give up. However, many people from the media and civil society stood by me and gave me the strength to fight.”
 
Mr Shetty feels a miracle can still happen because, he says, “When all hopes were waning and I had literally given up against the financial might of the powerful and resourceful accused IRB Infra, the Supreme Court came to my rescue and appreciated the merit in my case and ordered a rehearing by the Bombay HC. So I am fighting a lost battle, you may say, but I have not lost my hope of a win.”
 
In the meanwhile, the Whistle-blowers Protection Act has lapsed. To amend the Whistle-blowers Protection Act of 2014, the government of India presented the Whistle-blowers Protection Amendment Bill 2015 in the Lok Sabha on 11 May 2015. Although the Bill was successfully passed in the Lok Sabha on 13 May 2015, it faced obstacles in the Rajya Sabha and, regrettably, lapsed upon the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha without further approval.
 
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife. She is also the 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".)
Comments
kcganga2108
1 month ago
Such important public interest articles should be flagged to the PMO and in this case to Minister Nitin Gadkari as it involves road construction. The fact of such flagging should be disclosed in a footnote to the article. Any response received should also be mentioned.
Pragna Mankodi
1 month ago
Matter of concern that the amendment to the Whistle Blower Act was not allowed to be passed in the upper house after passing it in Loksabha. Clearly indicates who want to protect the corrupt!
MDT
Replied to Pragna Mankodi comment 1 month ago
Here are the details of the Bill and its status...

The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on 27 December 2011. It was passed by the Rajya Sabha on 21 February 2014. The Bill received the President's assent on 9 May 2014. However, the Act has not yet come into force, because amendments pertaining to safeguards against certain disclosures relevant to national security could not be incorporated, as the bill was passed on the last working day of the 15th Lok Sabha. With these amendments, the Government brought in the Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015 which the Lok Sabha passed on 13 May 2015. But the bill failed in Rajya Sabha and lapsed when the 16th Lok Sabha got dissolved in May 2019. Thereafter, the Government claimed that the Act was adequate, even without the amendments.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/company/corporate-trends/where-the-law-stands-on-whistleblowers-in-india/indias-whistleblower-law-not-operational-yet/slideshow/71770810.cms
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