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The Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL, Aug 22: A dead man was found drawing salary in the electricity department as assistant lineman sixteen years after his death.
This faux pass came to light when L Tombi and L Rishikanta, wife and son of late L Ningthemjao of Kiyam Siphai, filed a complaint with the state chief information commissioner for service-related documents of Ningthemjao from the electricity department under the Right to Information Act on July 7, 2007.
As told by Rishikanta at a press conference held today at the office of Human Rights Law Network, his father was serving as an assistant lineman with the electricity department from January 21, 1971. Later, on August 18, 1984, he joined as work charge. However, Rishikanta said, his father died on June 21, 1985 due to illness. He said that the representatives from the office employee union came for his shradha and provided monetary help.
Rishikanta said that since he was very young and his mother was also illiterate, they did not have any idea about pension and other benefits procedures. He said, â€œIt was only in 2004 that we sent an application to the electricity department to find out about my fatherâ€™s pension when one of his friends enquired about it. Then we started to investigate and could not make much headway.â€
M Rakesh, state coordinator HRLN, said that after Rishikanta approached for help, he sent a legal notice to the chief engineer of the electricity department on January 17, 2007 on behalf of Tombi inquiring about the pension benefits of late Ningthemjao.
Not being able to make much progress, two applications were sent by Tombi and Rishikanta under RTI to the electricity department. After 30 days lapsed with no action forthcoming, on July 7, 2007, the state information commission was approached.
Thereafter, the state information commission directed the chief engineer of the electricity department to furnish the relevant service documents of Ningthemjao. In the service documents provided by the electricity department, it was found that Ningthemjao was promoted as lineman on January 16, 1998, thirteen years after his death, by the then chief engineer. Thereafter he retired on superannuation on August 31, 2001, more than 16 years after his death.
Apart from having somebody withdrawing Ningthemjaoâ€™s salary for the past 16 years, Rakesh said that there were various false documentations. As per the familyâ€™s version, at the time of his death Ningthemjao was serving with the Thoubal electricity division whereas the official document mentioned that he was last serving with the Imphal Electrical Division No. 3, Lamphelpat.
Rakesh said that a criminal case will be taken up at the earliest against the electricity department and the High Court will be approached to provide relief to the aggrieved family.
Dead man drawing salary for 16 years at electricity dept! :: KanglaOnline ~ Your Gateway
MPs could be forced to reveal details of their spouses travel expenses following a victory by Freedom of Information campaigners yesterday.
The House of Commons authorities announced they were giving up High Court battle to stop a Labour MP being forced to publish the details of her and her husband's journeys.
Freedom of Information campaigners had requested to see an itemised breakdown of Labour MP Anne Moffat's travel expenses after it emerged that she had racked up a Â£40,000 bill in 2003.
Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, ruled that East Lothian MP Miss Moffat should submit her receipts for public scrutiny after finding that their release would not breach her privacy.
Commons authorities then lodged an appeal against the order for the release of the travel claims with the High Court, but last night confirmed they had abandoned the fight.
A spokeswoman for the Commons said: "An appeal was lodged with the High Court. After further consideration, this has now been withdrawn." A spokesman for Mr Thomas welcomed the decision saying that the public had the right to know about taxpayer-funded travel.
"The journeys for which an MP may claim reimbursement relate to official business and are therefore paid for out of public funds," the spokesman said.
"The public has a right to know how public money is spent by politicians and public officials.
"MPs' travel expenses relate to individuals acting in an official, rather than a private, capacity and in the Information Commissioner's view, disclosure of this information will not impinge an MP's personal privacy."
The move follows the publication yesterday of MPs' expenses and allowances for last year which revealed that they claimed a total of Â£87.6 million.
Earlier this year, MPs were last night made to reveal details of their Â£5million a year travel expenses after losing a two-year battle under the Freedom of Information Act and had to admit to some startling claims.
Yesterday's decision means they may now also have to disclose how much of this travel related to their spouses, who are entitled to make up to 15 free journeys a year.
The Prime Minister Gordon Brown has pledged the government would be more open in dealing with FOI requests.
He also launched a three-month public consultation on extending the Freedom of information Act to private firms.
FOI victory as MP is forced to reveal spouse's Â£40,000 travel expenses | the Daily Mail