Worried over the security of those exposing corruption, three whistleblowers and an RTI activist from Madhya Pradesh met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi at their official residence in Delhi on Tuesday evening, urging them to mount pressure on the government not to dilute the whistle-blowers protection bill.
Indore-based whistleblower Dr Anand Rai told HT over the phone that they met Rahul Gandhi for over half-an-hour and Sonia Gandhi for over 15 minutes at their 10, Janpath residence on Tuesday evening. “We were accompanied by senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh. Apart from RTI activist Ajay Dubey, the other two whistleblowers included Prashant Pandey, a cyber-expert and Ashish Chaturvedi, a social activist from Gwalior. Only Ashish didn’t meet Rahul,” he said.
Dr Rai said they apprised Sonia Gandhi about the developments in Madhya Pradesh, especially in the context of Vyapam scam. “We told her that the government has already passed the Whistle-blowers Protection Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha and it would now bring it in Rajya Sabha for its passage. The amendment bill has provisions that will have a detrimental effect on the work of whistleblowers as they weaken the act. The amendment will ensure that action could be taken against the whistleblowers if they can’t justify or substantiate their complaint and documents. We urged her that as they have majority in Rajya Sabha, they can exert pressure on the government so that the amendment bill is sent to the select committee and it is not weakened,” he said.
Dr Rai said they told Sonia Gandhi about the security concerns of the whistleblowers in MP, where over 40 people associated with Vyapam scam have been killed or have died under mysterious conditions.
Dr Rai said they are trying to meet the leaders from all opposition parties to seek their support against the amendment in the whistle-blowers protection act. “We are seeking time for appointment with Arvind Kejriwal, CPI leaders, JD(U) leaders and other likeminded leaders on this issue,” he added.
Speaking to HT over the phone, Ajay Dubey said it was a fruitful meeting. “Rahul Gandhi showed keen interest in the investigations of Vyapam and asked many questions.
He was curious to know how deaths in Vyapam scam had suddenly stopped, how the investigations were going under CBI and so on.”
What the BJP says
BJP state media in-charge Dr Hitesh Bajpai said the three whistleblowers and the activist who met Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, were playing the role of proxy Congress because Congress itself was actually defunct.
“These whistleblowers have a common political agenda which has been exposed with these meetings and the photos of these meetings which have started circulating on the social media. They are very selective; they never raise any questions against Congress. Their agenda is clearly pro-Congress,” he said.