Three whistleblowers from varied backgrounds who helped investigators crack Madhya Pradesh’s most high-profile scam have sought protection as they fear for their lives.
Ashish Chaturvedi, a postgraduate student from Gwalior, Dr Anand Rai, a medical practitioner and a computer expert identified only the mysterious Mr X – both from Indore – are the whistleblowers in the examination and recruitment scandal. They turned hostile and are now seeking protection from possible retribution by “influential people”.
What has gone wrong between them and the Special Task Force (STF) of the police that is probing the scam? HT talked to Chaturvedi and Rai to find out their part of the story and also to state home minister Babulal Gaur to get the government's response.
“I don't want this security. They themselves keep threatening me or allow hostile elements to beat me up,” said Chaturvedi, who has been provided with security by police.
“I have so many enemies after I broke the PMT scam…they tell me I would be killed if I don't dissociate myself from the investigation.”
He added: “I have written to the state human rights commission and would request the SIT to deploy jawans of central security forces like the CRPF or BSF if they really wish to provide me security.”
Asked why he fears that police would persecute him, Chaturvedi said he has been harassed by Gwalior police ever since he named some influential persons, including the chief minister, in his complaint to the state human rights panel.
“Gwalior police obviously works under the chief minister, how they can take it kindly?"
Rai, who has been provided one guard at the behest of the high court, said the government opposed his plea for security at every step.
"When I moved the high court for security, they described me as a habitual criminal though I am a government doctor...They ultimately agreed to provide security but only one guard has been provided to me," he said,
Explaining his reasons for believing that the STF and police are hostile towards whistleblowers, he said, “Because I have always maintained with them that the chief minister is directly involved in the scam, something which nobody wants to listen to."
Home minister Gaur said the government would enhance security to the whistleblowers.
“…if any of the whistleblowers has any problems with police, they should come to me. Mr Rai had come to me; I am going to increase his security. If Ashish is being tortured by guards provided to him, he should come to me, I will change them."
On Friday, Mr X had filed a petition in a Delhi court seeking protection from possible retribution.