RTI caused murder of Sri Krupasindhu Sahu -Fact Finding Report

Firdaus Jahan for BeyondHeadlines

The RTI Activist Sri Krupasindhu Sahu is murdered, aged 40 of Nachhinga village under Krushnaprasad Panchayat of Niali Block of Cuttack district. And the reason of the murder is that he had submitted RTI Application to the office of District Agriculture officer, Cuttack seeking information about details of fund spent for SRI cultivation under BGREI and beneficiary list of Block Demonstration of HYV paddy in Krushnaprasad Gram Panhayat of Niali Block.

On 1.2.15,   Sambad, a leading Odisha daily newspaper made news coverage about murder of Sri Krupasindhu Sahu. The area immediately to ascertain the fact and the circumstances led to murder of an RTI user, role of the police administration etc. It needs to be mentioned here that last month on 28.12.14, Sri Ganesh Chandra Panda, RTI Activist of Berhampur was murdered by unidentified hooligans in the early morning when he was on morning walk. Accordingly a four-member team of Human Rights Activists, Sri Pradip Pradhan, State Convener, Odisha Soochana Adhikar Abhijan, Sri Manoj Jena, chairperson, Human Rights Front, Bijayalaxmi Routray, Member, Society for Fast Justice, Bhubaneswar and Sri Srikant Pakal, District Human Rights Defender, Human Rights Front, Cuttack  visited  the spot, enquired  into  the incident  and held  discussion with   the bereaved family members of  deceased Krupasidhu Sahu , Police,  Villagers, political people  etc.

Sri Krupasindhu Bhoiis a farmer and earns his livelihood by cultivating his 5 acres of land.  He was survived by his mother, wife and two children. At first, the Team members visited his house and interacted with his wife Smt. Gitanjali Sahu about the incident. His niece Gitanjali Sahoo also elaborated chronologically the event led to murder of Sri Sahoo. The excerpts of the discussion are as follows statement of witness.

On 26.1.15, Sri Sahoo had gone to village market in the evening and did not return back. His wife got disturbed finding his delay to return to home and made repeated calls to his mobile which was found switched off. On 27. 1.15, the family members made fervent attempts to locate him and seared many places, but it went in vain. But his vehicle was found deserted near Mahaveer temple of the village. Finding the vehicle, the family members suspected that some unusual incident might have taken place.  So, on 28.1.15,  Smt. Gitanjali Sahu received  two  mobile calls  in different times ( at 8 AM and 7 PM) from an unknown person  ( M- 95839-83871)  who demanded 30 lakh rupees and 3 kg gold to get released of his husband who has been kidnapped and kept in some unidentified place. She expressed her helplessness and requested to leave her husband. Then, she   filed an FIR in Niali Police station at 3 PM to find out the whereabouts of her husband.

On 31st Feb. the Police located the spot i.e., river bed of Tanla river where his dead body was found buried. The police team recovered the body and sent to S.C.B. Medical for Post Mortem. The Police also arrested Pratap Jena, nephew, sister and mother of the accused Kartik Pani, prime accused of same village who had returned from jail after 7 years rigorous imprisonment on a murder cases. He was found absconding.

Wife of Krupasindhu Sahoo Smt. Gitanjali Sahu also shared with the team that 3 months back, her husband had submitted RTI Application to the office of District Agriculture officer, Cuttack seeking information about details of fund spent for SRI cultivation under BGREI and beneficiary list of Block Demonstration of HYV paddy in Krushnaprasad Gram Panhayat of Niali Block. This information supplied by the PIO exposed huge corruption and misappropriation of fund by the beneficiaries who have taken lakhs of rupees by making false bill in connivance with Agriculture officials and The SANSKAR, an NGO which has been given the project to monitor the same.Krupasindhu lodged complaint to the authority seeking an enquiry into corruption and recovery of fund.  This enraged the beneficiaries of the misappropriation of fund who took several attempts to attack him and threatened   him to murder. But he remained undeterred in his mission.  His wife in her FIR filed in the police station has mentioned the name of these people who have threatened him of dire consequence several times. These people are Trilochan Pani, Sanjay Bhoi, Ajay Sethi, Rupan Behera who are the political cadres of Biju Janata Dal, ruling political party in the state. During interaction, Gitanjali Sahu said that it was pre-planned political murder with the support of Sri Satyabrata Lenka, Inspector-In-Charge of Niali Police station. Finally investigation specifies that,

  1. The Team is of the view that RTI stands as a factor behind this pre-planned cold-blooded murder of Sri Krupasindhu sahu. His use of RTI has brought to lime light the huge corruption and irregularities in BGREI fund sanctioned for development of agriculture in this Block by the influential and powerful political people. This expose enraged these people and created enmity with Krupasindhu. Apprehending enquiry into this scam and recovery of fund from them, they got psychologically disturbed to save their image. They also threatened him to attack and murder him several times as reported by Gitanjali Sahu. It is presumed that these people whose name has been figured in FIR might have engaged Kartik Pani by paying Supari to murder Krupasindhu. The police has neither interrogated these people nor arrested him till yet. The Team is of the view that as these people are members of Biju Janata Dal, Ruling political party of the state,   the police has not dared to take any action against them.
  2. Though FIR was filed on 28.1.15, the Inspector-In-Charge did not take the case seriously. It may be the police have acted at the behest of the politically powerful people of this area. It is also presumed that this is deep-rooted conspiracy hatched between the people involved in misappropriation of BGREI fund and the police which led to the murder of Krupasindhu by a dreaded criminal. The pre-planned strategy in connivance with the police provided golden opportunity to the criminals to murder him. The high-level enquiry can unearth the truth. In the absence of proper investigation, the criminals also dared to murder him without any fear and absconded. Many information can be obtained, if the all records of mobile no. (M-9437005800, 9438547901, 9178620095) of Inspector-In-charge can be investigated.
  3. After spot verification, the Team has reached at a conclusion that as it was planned murder, it had taken place on 26th Jan, day of his missing.
  4. The whole episode revolves around expose of misappropriation of BGREI fund through RTI by Krupasindhu. The role of the agriculture officials and NGO the SANSKAR behind murder cannot be ruled out. Apprehending arrest and recovery of fund which has been misappropriated by the beneficiaries in collusion with Agriculture officials, they might have joined and party to this conspiracy to murder conspiracy. There must be a high-level enquiry into misappropriation of BGREI fund in this Block.

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