ECoR staffer in soup over RTI query

BHUBANESWAR: A railway employee has in a petition filed in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Cuttack, alleged that he was victimized for seeking information under RTI Act. The information relates to receipt and expenditure of money for conduct of some sports activities, organised by the East Coast Railway (ECoR) here in different years.

Chief office superintendent (mechanical) of ECoR Subhendu Sekhar Kar has in his April 2 petition with CAT also alleged that he was shunted to Sambalpur because he sought information under RTI Act.

ECoR denied Kar was victimized and attributed his transfer to ‘routine official procedure’. “We are alert to the development. The CAT order will be followed,” chief public relations officer of ECoR R N Mohapatra told.

In his petition, Kar said he had on December 5, 2012, sought information on sanction and expenditure of funds towards different heads in the All India Railway Athletic Championship in 2005, 2008 and 2012 and All India Railway Volleyball Championship in 2006, 2010, 2011 and 2012 held in Bhubaneswar. On April 1, he received his transfer letter and a letter saying no information would be provided to him.

Challenging the transfer order, Kar moved CAT and maintained that the information he sought under RTI might have put positions of some senior officials in danger. In his petition, Kar wrote, “I suspect some office-bearers of East Coast Railway Sports Association (ECoRSA) misappropriated huge amounts by way of submitting false bills in some sports events here in comparison to the expenditure incurred in similar sports activities held at other places by the Railways.”

“While the feedback of some players, who were staying at Kalinga Stadium, on arrangements and provision of basic amenities by ECoRSA was adverse, huge money was shown as spent in the bills. That was the reason why they were hesitating to share the information with me,” Kar said in his petition.

“I was instructed by the first appellate authority (senior deputy general manager, ECoR) to refrain from activities related to RTI. Instead of giving me information within one month, I was made to run from pillar to post,” Kar added in his petition.

The CAT on April 8 imposed status quo on his transfer and directed him to put forth his grievance before the general manager of ECoR. “The applicant is directed to make a suitable representation by placing all the facts before the ECoR’s general manager, seeking appropriate relief within a period of 10 days. Status quo in respect of the applicant shall be maintained till the representation is disposed by the concerned authority,” the CAT order said.