Sunday, June 13, 2010

Slain RTI activist had ruffled many feathers

RTI activist Dattatray Patil (47), who was murdered here on Saturday, took on every
powerful lobby in this powerloom town in pros­perous western Maharashtra. After 10 Congress corporators crossed over to the BJP last year, he initiated an Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) probe into the sus­pected horse-trading, which meant trouble for everyone of the 57 corporators. "Except for one corporator, who is a neighbour, no other corporator called on us after his death," said Dattatray's elder brother Kshamananda.

Dattatray had also filed cas­es against co-operative handloom societies, which were meant for the disadvantaged but controlled by the rich from the upper castes. There are nearly 350 such soci­eties in Ichalkaranji. "Any of these lobbies could be behind his murder," alleged Kshamananda. As if this was not enough, Dat­tatray had also filed a case against the former superintend­ent of police for constructing a new police station building at Jaisinghpur, partly with 'dona­tions' from the police.

Dattatray stayed in a ram­shackle bungalow at Gandhi Camp with the families of his other two siblings. While the eld­er brother managed the joint fam­ily's jaggery business, Dattatray looked after the 27 acres of farm­land the family owned. He was on his routine evening visit on his motorcycle to a field, six km away at Shivnakwadi, when he was waylaid and stabbed to death around 6 pm. A farm hand called up Dattatray's family on notic­ing his body in the fields.

******* Times of India Page 7 ( Pune Edition) Report by Ani Singh *****

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