Life came a full circle for Rajeshwari Chauhan, a senior official from department of social work (DSW), because of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. However, now she is using it to defend herself.
Chauhan has filed an application under the RTI Act against an NGO that had used RTI as a tool to find out evidence and lodge a complaint against her with the anti-corruption branch of the Delhi government. The complaint resulted in her arrest.
Chauhan, who is now out on bail, was arrested for her alleged involvement in a purchase scam dug out by the NGO, Pratidhi three years ago using a series of RTI applications.
She has now filed an application under the RTI Act with the Delhi police's east district and asked for every single letter/mail/fax written/sent by the NGO to anybody and everybody.
"It was Pratidhi's Raj Mangal Prasad, who had filed thousands of RTI applications with the DSW. I want to know what did he ask, where else he files RTI applications and related information," Chauhan said."I also want to know what all are his connections. How did he become the chairperson of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC)?"
She questioned Prasad's locus standi: "If it is a police ka NGO (an NGO run by the police)?"
Prasad countered, "Although Pratidhi is headed by the joint commissioner of police (New Delhi range), it is best described as a collaboration of police with Association for Development (a registered group of social work professionals). We receive no funding from the Delhi police."
Rajan Bhagat, Delhi police spokesperson said, "Pratidhi has been identified as an NGO for east district just like there are NGOs in all other districts. These help police in counselling and rehabilitation of victims of sexual assault."
Trying to clear the air about his selection, Prasad said, "I was earlier a member of the selection committee for chairpersons of CWCs. It was only later that I was selected as chairperson of one such committee, that too, by a government panel headed by a high court judge."