In Bihar, Maoists use RTI to extort realty companies

In Bihar, Maoists use RTI to extort realty companies

 When the UPA government had come up with the idea of advertising its much-touted Right to Information (RTI) Act featuring Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, little did they know that Maoists in the dense forests of western Bihar would latch on to the idea.

Apparently, the ultras are using the RTI to dig out the financial informations of government projects, and hiking the “levy” on construction companies engaged in carrying out the projects in their area.

The development came to light when security forces consisting of the Central Reserve Police Force, Special Task Force and Commando Battalion for Resolute Action jointly raided a Maoists’ training camp in the Jamui district recently, where they stumbled upon not only huge cash but RTI applications too.

“Around 15 RTI applications seeking information related to annual turnover, financial status and work order of Central or state-sponsored welfare projects, like the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna, Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Scheme or construction of bridges and state highways, were recovered from the Maoists’ hideout,” said a source, refusing to be identified.

Of late, the Maoists have increased their “annual plan outlay” and earmarked a substantial sum for “military”. The term “military” in Maoist parlance means “training programme for People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army”.

To buttress the point on how the RTI was being misused by the Maoists to hike their levy, the source said, “Recently, the Maoists were negotiating with a construction company on ‘levy’. When the owner of the firm said it was not possible for him to pay such a hefty sum due to low budget of the project, the ultras produced a copy of the actual cost of the project, which they had procured through RTI. The company owner had no choice but to follow their diktat.”

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