Criminals in Uttar Pradesh have discovered a unique weapon to meet their unjust means-the Right to Information (RTI) Act. First they seek details about the work done under supervision of the particular official and then extort money threatening the official about pending complaints against him.
A case came to the fore in Lucknow when an extortion racket operational around the secretariat building was busted, after arrest of three persons.
Police caught the trio red handed, taking Rs. 25,000 from chief medical officer (CMO) of Banda, after threatening him about pending complaints against him in connection with medicine supply.
Police said that the trio posed as secretariat employees and had extorted money from several officials in the past three years. The three accused were identified as Faizabad residents Kamlesh Sharma and Chanchal Bhatt and a Lucknow resident Praveen Singh.
“The three had no direct links with the secretariat, but were well aware of its functioning as they visited it frequently with some low rung politicians,” said Akshay Kumar, incharge of the surveillance cell.
“Sharma-the perceived mastermind of the gang-would gather details about the work done under supervision of the particular official, through an RTI plea. Then he would call the officials and start blackmailing. He would threaten them of departmental inquiry being set up. The officials easily believed Sharma’s claims, as he cited specific details about their work,” police added.