Use RTI as safety tool to protect partymen: Karuna
Chennai: In the wake of arrests of his senior colleagues in connection with land grab complaints, DMK president M Karunanidhi on Saturday asked his legal wing members to effectively use RTI as a "safety tool" to protect partymen.
"We should ask questions that will send a shiver among personnel of any department, including police, that come towards us. They should fear their future prospects. Keep that in mind and use Right to Information (to ask queries)," Karunanidhi told his legal wing members here.
He said this fear would act as a "safety tool" that will protect DMK members, who he alleged were facing tough times like during the Emergency. "When you seek Information, they will be apprehensive, thinking why was it sought," he said.
A legal wing member present at the meeting said DMK would seek information on about 100 queries asking details, including officers' assets, memo received, departmental action, if any that they had faced and some other matters.
"They are legally bound to furnish information. This will be helpful in exposing officers, mainly from police department. We will cover officers from Sub-Inspector to Commissioner."
Recalling the Emergency, he said there was "no need to mention police atrocities on DMK workers". Even popular socialist leader Jayaprakash Narayan had praised his party.
"Those were days when it was uncertain if arrested partymen would return alive. Even then none could destroy DMK which only grew stronger. Similar efforts are now on to destroy DMK," he said.
He urged the advocates to assist those arrested (for land grab) and help them out of the cases.
Party sources also said all legal routes would be utilised in support of jailed leaders, including former Ministers Veerapandi S Arumugam, KN Nehru, K Ponmudi and N K K P Raja, besides MLAs J Anbazhagan and Soundarapandian.
Some aides of Union Minister M K Alagiri are also in jail on land grab complaints.
CHENNAI: Barely a week after DMK chief Karunanidhi called upon the party’s legal wing to raise queries under the Right to Information (RTI) Act for each land grab case as a safety tool against partymen charged with land grab, senior cops investigating the cases have been flooded with RTI queries.
Officers in the rank of commissioners have expressed concerns that advocates from Chennai were misusing the RTI to weaken investigations on land grab cases in which former ministers were involved.
At the DMK’s legal wing met on September 10, Karunanidhi had asked cadre to pose queries to officals and police that would give rise to fear among the officers about their future. Officers in both Salem and Tiruchy, where the Anti-Land Grab Cells have arrested ex-ministers Veerapandi Arumugamn and K N Nehru, were stunned when they received hundresd of RTI applications from Chennai advocates seeking various details about them, including their personal details. While the entire unit of the special cell in Salem - from CoP K Sokkalingam, DCP (Law and Order) M Sathiya Priya to the rank of inspectors - have received 10 applications each, in the case of Tiruchy, police commissioner E Ma Masanamuthu has received RTI queries from the advocates. “All the RTI applications are from the advocates in Chennai and each one had the same set of querries. For instance, I received 10 applications but all asked the same questions,” said K Sokkalingam, Salem COP, talking to Express. “The advocates are asking silly questions such as date of birth, my native place, education details of me and my family members, about trips aboard, my promotion and property details,” said Sokkalingam. “And for every query, they are asking for valid papers, like for date of birth they wanted officials to attach a certificate,” he said. E Ma Masanamuthu, Tiruchy Commissioner, said that he also received similar RTI queries from the advocates. Both the commissioners said that the advocates were misusing the RTI Act to threaten and divert the probe from the land grabbing cases. “The anti-land grabbing units have a lot of work,” said Masanamuthu. “They were using RTI to slow down the investigation. They have also mentioned in their application that if we delayed filing the information, we will be called for enquiry before the State Information Commission,” said Sokkalingam.
In such a situation, “how can we focus on the probe? If the applications are genuine, we will be happy to provide information. But they are trying to undermine the probe,” said the senior cop.