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Haryana announces security policy for whistle-blowers, RTI activists
Chandigarh, Sep 8 (IANS) On the backfoot in the last four years over harassment to a whistle-blower from the Indian Forest Service (IFS), Sanjay Chaturvedi, the Haryana government Thursday announced a policy for providing security to whistle blowers and Right to Information (RTI) activists.
A home department notification says that whistle-blowers and RTI activists could seek security in Haryana if they perceived a threat.
'With a view to eliminating corruption at all levels, the Haryana government has introduced a policy for providing security to whistle-blowers and Right to Information activists,' an official spokesman said Thursday.
However, not everyone is taking the new policy of the Haryana government on face value, given the fate of IFS officer Sanjay Chaturvedi.
A 2002-batch IFS officer from the Haryana cadre, Chaturvedi has been facing harassment from political bosses in Haryana, particularly during the tenure of the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government, for exposing mafia operating on forest land in the state.
The young officer has faced transfers, cases and suspension as he refused to bow to bosses, particularly former Haryana forest minister Kiran Chaudhary. His suspension was once revoked through a Presidential order in January 2008.
Chaturvedi had to fight for his innocence by taking the RTI route to prove that his suspension was illegal.
Even chief minister Hooda has refrained from taking action against his minister and senior forest officers who allegedly colluded with various mafia to plunder natural resources in the state.
The spokesman said that a whistle-blower or RTI activist who perceives a threat may submit an application to the police commissioner or district superintendent of police. 'The authority concerned shall make an expeditious enquiry into the perception and call for an analysis from officers,' according to the spokesman.
He added that if the applicant is found to have any specific or genuine threat, he shall be provided security immediately. 'This process shall be completed as expeditiously as possible but should not take more than one week,' the spokesman said.
The state government has said that a special cell shall be created for processing requests of security and monitoring the investigation of cases registered against the whistle-blower or RTI activists.
'Any misuse of security provided shall be viewed seriously and remedial action shall be taken forthwith, including recovery of cost and other appropriate action, as per law,' the spokesman added.