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Defiant officer says has 'a right to conduct probe'

Ratnakar Gaikwad, DG of YASHADA, insists that he has a right to conduct a probe into any incident of atrocity on SCs or STs, reports Satyajit Joshi.

india Updated: Dec 06, 2006 22:56 IST

Ratnakar Gaikwad, the director general of Yashvantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (YASHADA), on Wednesday insisted that he had a right to conduct a probe into any incident of atrocity on Scheduled Castes or Tribes.

Gaikwad was reacting to the state government's move to initiate an inquiry into how the YASHADA report on the Khairlanji killings was leaked to the media.

Talking to the Hindustan Times, Gaikwad said he had submitted the report to the government on Khairlanji massacre on November 30 and the same was displayed on YASHADA's website the very next day. "How can I deny the information to the people under Right to Information Act?" Gaikwad asked.

YASHADA has played a pro-active role in educating masses and government officials on the Right to Information Act (RTI) in the last few years. It is the nodal agency, appointed by the union government to educate government officers on RTI.

Gaikwad said he did not bother about the inquiries, which was announced by Chief Secretary DK Sankaran. He said he had conducted an inquiry into the Khairlanji incident in his capacity as a nodal officer under the Scheduled Caste- Scheduled Tribes Act (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989. "This is a Union government act. Let the state government approach the Union government if they have any questions," he said.

He reiterated the decision for the Khairlanji probe by saying that the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Research and Training Institute (part of Department of Social Justice of government of Maharashtra) and the Centre for Equity and Social Justice (a YASHADA cell) were commissioned to prepare the report.

Known as an upright officer in bureaucratic circles, Gaikwad has held several important positions in the past. He was appointed commissioner of the Pune Municipal Corporation after Arun Bhatia was removed from the post. He worked with the Social Welfare Department and also the Cooperative Commissioner before being appointed director general at YASHADA.

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First Published: Dec 06, 2006 22:56 IST