Right to Information (RTI) activist Sanjay Bhaklika has alleged that the Adharwadi prison authorities demanded Rs 1.29 lakh from him for 12,500 pages of information on the jail.
Bhaklika, 40, a resident of Sai Chowk, Kadakpada in Kalyan, said, “I was in jail for 43 days on a false forgery case. During my time inside the prison, I saw many irregularities. So, after getting released on bail, I decided to expose the sorry condition of the jail so that the government can take action.”
He said the information he had asked for was the capacity of the prison, the number of inmates currently, medical facilities available, the types of medicines given to inmates and the number of inmates in prison who were there because they had no legal help or no relatives to help them.
“I sent my first application on January 6 this year, but got no response from the prison administration. I went in for an appeal on February 12 but after that I got a letter from the jail asking me to pay Rs 1,29 000 for 12,500 pages if information. They mentioned in the letter that they were charging Rs 10 for each page.
When contacted, AR Pawer, superintendent, Adharwadi jail, said, “I am at home right now and don’t have access to office records. I will give you the information during office hours. Also, I do not look into such matters as we have an information officer, SA Sonar handles such cases. If the person has received such a letter from our officer, then he must have taken the guidance of our legal department or from higher officers.”
When HT tried to contact Sonar on his mobile phone, it was switched off.
RTI activist Sriniwas Ghanekar from Kalyan, who exposed the road toll tax scam in Maharashtra using RTI, said jail authorities could not charge Rs10 a page. “Government authorities can charge at most Rs 2 a page and for postage charges,” Ghanekar said.