By Himadri Ghosh
Many people are informed of the infamous Adarsh Society Scam, which was unearthed back in the year 2010. But not many people are aware of the fact that some RTI applications were primarily instrumental in revealing the links between politicians, bureaucrats, military officials and the monstrous scam.
Let’s rewind back to the year 2008, RTI activists Yogacharya Anandji and Simpreet Singh sent several applications to the different public institutions. The responses shockingly revealed that the land on which the building was constructed did not belong to the government of Maharashtra, but to the Ministry of the Defence.
The applications further revealed the posh housing society in Colaba, originally had permission for six floors and was meant to house war widows and veterans. But staggeringly, the flats were never given to the allottees, instead went to several politicians, bureaucrats and their relatives. Moreover, it revealed that no environmental clearance was received to construct a 31-storey building in the regulated coastal zone.
For citizens, the flouting of rules by the politicians, is nothing new, but what disturbs the most in Adarsh case, is the way ministers and top bureaucrats shamelessly made a beeline to get flats formally meant for war widows.
The scam brings to light the nexus between corruption and the people muffled with power, like now the union minister Suresh Prabhu, former Army Chief, Deepak Kapoor and the then, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Ashok Chavan. Consequently, the disclosure forced Mr. Chavan, to resign.
This royal expose is an impeccable instance of the power of RTI, and how it unearths the hidden.
Himadri Ghosh is a Bangalore based freelancer