'Medha Patkar concealed 2 more cases from RPO Mumbai'

Medha Patkar. Photo by DH

In a new twist to Medha Patkar's recent Passport controversy in which she got a notice from RPO Mumbai, National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL) President V K Saxena has written to the RPO alleging that the Narmada Bachao Andolan activist "deliberately didn't disclose" two other criminal cases lodged by him against her while applying for the travel document.

In the November 22 letter, he said the two criminal cases against her were lodged by him in 2001 and 2006 and are pending in New Delhi's Saket Court but while applying for the passport in 2017 she not only did not mention the nine cases from Madhya Pradesh pending against her but these two cases as well.

Saxena, who is also the chairman of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), said he learned from the recent news reports that only 9 cases have been referred to, that too from Madhya Pradesh, as pending against her.

"She deliberately didn't disclose the two pending cases in Saket Court while applying for the passport," he wrote in the letter to the passport officer.

"I wish to inform you that two criminal cases, which I filed against her, one in 2001 and another in 2006 are also pending against her," he said.

"In case she has not disclosed about these two criminal cases pending against her you may initiate action as per law," he said.

The Regional Passport Office, Mumbai, recently issued a show-cause notice to Patkar as to why her passport should not be impounded for failing to disclose information regarding the pendency of cases against her.

The RPO Mumbai has noted that nine criminal cases have been registered against her -- three are in Barwani, one in Alirajpur and five in Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh -- and are still pending adjudication.

"While obtaining passport bearing no...dated March 30, 2017, you have not disclosed the fact regarding pendency of the above cases and obtained passport by suppression of material information.

"In view of the same, it is proposed to impound your passport bearing and any other passport if issued subsequently under section 10(3)(e) of the Passports Act 1967. You are requested to state why action should not be taken under section 12(1) of the Passports Act 1967," the notice issued by the passport office on October 18 said.

The passport officials had sought her explanation within 10 days from the date of this communication failing which action would be taken.

A complaint was filed against the activist in June this year by a journalist stating that Patkar had obtained her passport by concealing and suppressing material facts from the RPO Mumbai.

Saxena, who heads Gujarat-based NGO, NCCL, in a statement said "Medha Patkar’s disrespect to national development and social emancipation is her lesser vice.

Her disregard for the rule of law is a greater maleficence. Now, concealing information on her criminality in the Passport application is by all means - criminality par excellence," he added.

Patkar had earlier contested the Mumbai North-East Parliament seat in 2014 on the AAP ticket but lost the election.

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