MUMBAI: The Right to Information Act has come to the rescue of a former trustee of a charitable educational trust who was illegally removed by presenting signatures of dead and fictitious members.

The original papers of the trust's no-confidence motion, which were in the charity commissioner's office, were substituted with the forged papers in alleged collusion with the office staff. The charity commissioner's office then passed an order to oust Qamar S Qazi, the trustee.

Seventy-three-old Qamar S Qazi, a former customs official and trustee of Anjuman Tarakki Achra, has been fighting the case for the last seven years. It was when Qazi applied to the charity commissioner's office for the copy of the no-confidence motion passed against him in 1999 that he discovered, to his horror, that the documents were substituted.

"Instead, another document which had about 125 forged signatures of the trustees were placed. Many of the members were dead or their names were fictitious. Some were abroad when the alleged election took place,"Qazi said.

On discovering the forgery, Qazi filed a criminal case against the existing trustees at the Additional Magistrate court, Mazgaon in 2000.

The court directed the Dongri police to investigate the case and the police report established that a forgery was committed. The court then ordered the police to file a chargesheet.

However, despite directives from the magistrate and later the Bombay high court, the charity commissioner's office did not subsequently take any action on the issue of the forgery committed by the existing trustees.

Qazi then filed a query under the Right to Information Act in 2006 asking about the status of the case. "The charity commissioner's office replied stating that they did not have the police inquiry report with them and hence could not take action.

I then filed a complaint with the state information commissioner who directed the law and judiciary department to look into the matter,"Qazi said.

Within a month, Qazi got a reply from the Charity Commissioner which stated that the earlier fake no-confidence motion passed by the trust was set aside and a fresh enquiry had been initiated against the trustees.

"The Right to Information Act has now helped me to set aside an order which was blatantly wrong. I hope justice will be done soon,"Qazi said.

The Times of India - Indian Newspapers in English Language from six editions.

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