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  1. [h=1]Mumbai: Corrupt officials did not spare even rape survivors, farmers[/h] The fact that those in power take bribes will not come as a surprise to anyone; however, what is shocking in the 83 cases mentioned in an Anti-Corruption Bureau list is the background of the victims. Here are some of the sinners. How low would a person have to sink to seek a 'cut' from the money being handed over to a rape survivor? Vinod Bhosale, an official from the Women and Child Welfare department, no less, could have the answer to that question. He was caught red-handed trying to extract Rs 20,000 from a rape survivor to hand over her Rs 50,000 cheque under a government scheme to aid victims of such crimes. What’s even worse is that Bhosale is just one of 83 government officials, figuring on a list compiled by the state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), who were caught red handed and arrested for taking bribes in 2014 from the poorest of the poor to give them the benefits they are entitled to under various government schemes. The list of shame includes doctors trying to fleece elderly women before giving them spectacles, health officers demanding money to release cheques for constructing toilets and even a school principal, who asked a cook making mid-day meals for children to fork out Rs 1,500 before releasing her salary cheque. Even poor farmers, many of whom have been driven to suicide because of their financial situation, were not spared. ACB officials say the details of these cases are meant to give a clearer picture of how the benefits from various government schemes meant for people living below the poverty line either fail to reach them in full or are made available to them after a long delay. The only silver lining in this sordid tale is that in 2014, the ACB saw a considerable increase in the number of people approaching it to complain. Amazed “It is the height of shamelessness. Whether it’s a rape survivor, a senior citizen or people looking for basic needs like toilets in their villages, the corrupt babus have not spared a single person coming to them for availing these benefits. We have also arrested a principal from a Latur-based school who asked for Rs 1,500 from a cook of a municipal school to release her cheque for providing mid-day meals for the students,” an ACB official said. According to ACB officials, there are around 38 different government schemes to give subsidies and other benefits to people living below the poverty line. Of these, the main schemes are Employment Generation Scheme, Indira Avas Yojana, Ekatmik Vikas Yojana, Rajeev Gandhi Health Scheme and others related to goat farming, water supply and tap connection. There are also schemes for rape victims, dalits, slum dwellers etc. To avail the benefits under the schemes, the villagers often have to go through the gram sevaks or their village head to get the amount. Many of the villagers are illiterate and usually give away a portion of what they are supposed to get as a cut or a bribe to speed up the payment process because they know that those who refuse to pay up are made to run from pillar to post. “The schemes are meant for very poor people that need the government’s help to improve their quality of life and these officers demand money even from them to get the benefits of the schemes. Some of the complainants have approached us from faraway places like Gadchiroli, Chandrapur, Washim, Yavatmal and Amravati, and we have arrested the accused,” said Pravin Dixit, Director General of Police, ACB, Maharashtra. Sparing no one ACB officials said they were shocked when they found doctors, health officers and even a school principal indulging in such activities. “One government officer demanded money to release cheques for building toilets in a village in Nashik. The gramsevak was arrested while taking Rs 600 from the complainant to release his cheques. A doctor was also arrested for demanding R400 from poor elderly women for giving them spectacles under the government’s health scheme,” said Dixit. Unemployed villagers work under the Employment Generation Scheme of the government, but when it comes to releasing their wages, the Panchayat Samiti officers demand a cut from them. “Some such villagers approached us and we trapped around 14 officers,” said an ACB official. Officers also arrested around 12 government employees who demanded money from poor people who had got fund for housing from the government. “The officers from the Zilla Parishad and Panchayat Samitis and Gramsevaks demanded money to release cheques under the Indira Vikas Yojana,” the official added. “They (corrupt babus) don’t understand that such schemes are meant for very poor people who don’t have food or employment and make do with the money they get for whatever days they can get employment through government schemes. The corrupt officials demand cuts even from them. We had published our numbers in such areas and that’s how the complainants approached us,” said the official.
  2. Rape of Dalit women rose in Gujarat over the last 13 years, reaching the highest in 2014, higher by 500 per cent since 2001, says an RTI reply. The reply to an RTI application by Mehsana-based human rights activist Kaushik Parmar, from the office of Director General of Police (DGP), Gujarat, revealed that 74 Dalit women were allegedly raped and cases were registered under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, in 2014. Read more at: Rape of Dalit women registers 500% increase since 2001, RTI reveals | The Indian Express
  3. [h=1]CIC directs Delhi Women Commission to disclose rape records[/h] New Delhi: Amid outrage over the interview of a December 16 gangrape convict, CIC on Wednesday directed the Delhi Commission of Women to make public records of rapes committed in the national capital with stern conditions to ensure that identities of victims are not disclosed. "The Commission observes that the records relating to rape victims cannot be totally blocked from sharing for research purposes on the ground of personal information under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act. "When it is possible to separate information that can be given from that cannot be given, the PIO has to invoke doctrine of severability to facilitate the information," The Commission observes that the records relating to rape victims cannot be totally blocked from sharing for research purposes on the ground of personal information under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act. Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said. The case relates to Baladevan Rangaraju who claimed that he wanted information on rape victims for research purpose and personally requested the Secretary of the Department, who after knowing the purpose, refused to furnish the records. Rangaraju said information sought by him had to be maintained by the Department according to Delhi Commission for Women Act, 1994. The Commission expressed concern over the issue of the protection of privacy of the rape victims and contended that it was not possible to separate the names of the victims from various documents including medico-legal case reports. "Facilitate inspection of the records to the authorised female representative of the appellant with an assurance that they shall not bring any electronic device like video records, mobile, camera etc, block out the names and personal details of the victim and accused by whitener on the photostat copies," Sridhar said setting stern guidelines for disclosure of sensitive information. He said each paper shall be verified by the officials of Delhi Women Commission to ensure that nowhere victims' names and private details are revealed before certifying. "The appellant is directed to enter a non-disclosure agreement with an undertaking that he/his representative will not reveal information about the personal details of the victims and the accused and that they shall be responsible for any such revelation through the documents shared," he said. Acharyulu warned that any such disclosure would not only result in the breach of undertaking but also an offence under the Indian Penal Code. "It shall be responsibility of the respondent authority to secure records, and the appellant shall share the copy of the research report with the Women's Commission and this Commission," the Commissioner said in his order. Read More: CIC directs Delhi Women Commission to disclose rape records - IBNLive
  4. Rape victim uses RTI to nail corrupt cops By Rahul Mangaonkar,TNN, 12 Jun 2008 GANDHINAGAR: She was 15-year-old and studying in class VIII in Umarpada taluka in south Gujarat when she was raped last year in February. She became pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy who died a fortnight later. But with the rapists still roaming free and the police refusing to take an FIR, the victim used Right to Information (RTI) to know when she would get justice. For a whole year she knocked on many doors to get her voice heard. On January 23, 2008, she finally filed an RTI application at Mangrol. Through her RTI application, the victim demanded progress report of her complaint filed on October 10 last year with the police sub inspector (PSI) at Mangrol and assistant PSI of Umarpada outpost. She also wanted to know with which all officers was the matter pending and for how long. On not getting any response, the victim took the matter before Gujarat Information Commission (GIC). In its order passed on May 16, GIC ordered that information be given to the victim within 10 days free of cost and asked for reasons why penalties should not be imposed. It was only then that on May 29 that the offence was registered based on the victim's complaint of October 10 last year. At the hearing before GIC on Wednesday, the victim finally made her voice heard. Arguing confidently, she asked the police inspector of Mangrol, "Where is that officer who came to our house and threatened us by showing us his revolver?" She alleged that the local police had suppressed her case till now as a bribe of Rs 50,000 was given to them by the accused. The police obviously tried to sabotage the case. The FIR mentioned wrong dates of the offence. The police in their reply to GIC have stated that the crime has been registered as number 45/08 under sections 376, 498-A, 323, 504, 506(2) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Immediately after the hearing, panicky home department officials were heard shooting off orders to police in Surat to have the accused arrested immediately. Rape victim uses RTI to nail corrupt cops-Ahmedabad-Cities-The Times of India
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