A Shankar, 36
Suspended from Department of Vigilance and Anti Corruption after lodging a complaint against police officials who were manipulating the system to grab seats in Anna University medical exams; Exposed high profile housing allottment scam; Faced false case of theft and attempt to murder, was jailed and even tortured.
I was just 16 when my father passed away and I was given a job in the DVAC on compassionate grounds. I had to look after my mother and elder sister. Thankfully, I did not have to run around for a job. Since my father worked in the DAVC till his death, I was taken in. But the idealist in me was shocked at the corruption all around me.
After a decade and half, I began to explore how to beat the system. I used RTI through a friend of mine and exposed a racket in the Anna University medical examinations in 2006. Senior police officials were manipulating the system to get their wards medical seats which they were not qualified for.
Soon, the system hit back. I was implicated in a false case of theft. Undeterred, I turned my attention to a housing scam and exposed it, leading to cancellation of allotments to several VIPs including top bureaucrats, politicians and journalists.
In 2008, seniors in the DVAC foisted a false case of leaking information to the press on me and suspended me. I was arrested, jailed for four months and subjected to third degree torture. A senior police official, Jaffer Sait, intelligence chief in Karunanidhi's regime, was suspended due to my complaint. I was also arrested in an attempt to murder case and let off after two months.
Clearly the police were trying to browbeat me into submission. Everyone in the police department knew that senior officials were corrupt. But nobody took action. I did and turned the department against me. I have two criminal cases pending against me. There are threats galore, but I am used to them. Till the DMK was in power, the threats were serious. After Jayalalithaa became CM, I began to breathe easy. Under DMK, no media organisation, including Jaya TV was willing to take up the housing scam.
If anyone is on my side, it is the lawyers and my family. But, I am suffering. I get only 75% of my salary. I do not know if the suspension will ever be revoked.
There were days when we were scared and didn't know what to do. Why did I undergo such trauma? Corruption is a big menace eating away at the country and a lot of good work is being done by some people. So if my life today is stressful, uncertain, I welcome it and take each day as it comes. If in my small way, I can make a change, I would consider my life well spent.