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Dubey's parent dept says we did no wrong

Dubey's parent dept says we did no wrong

Author: Express News Service
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: December 12, 2003
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/archive_full_story.php?content_id=37081

Two days after the Prime Minister said that action would be taken against those responsible for the murder of Satyendra Dubey ''wherever they are,'' his parent Ministry today issued a statement denying any slip-up on its part.

The eight-page note by the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways (MORTH) basically echoes what Minister B C Khanduri had told The Indian Express on December 4: the leak and the murder were not linked and Dubey's murder should be seen in the context of Bihar's abysmal record in law and order.

''It has been reported that the letter (Dubey's first letter) was sent in a routine manner by the PMO to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and onward to NHAI. This grave insinuation (that not honouring Dubey's request for secrecy could have endangered his life) is as untenable as unfair. The PMO and the MORTH categorically deny that Dubey's identity was disclosed by them so that his murder was linked to the letter he wrote to the PM,'' says the official note.

However, the Ministry glosses over Dubey's second letter, this time to the Chairman, NHAI, in which he clearly wrote that because his identity wasn't kept scret, he was ''exposed to undesirable pressures and threats.'' Even this letter was ignored. Dubey made it very clear he was targeted and his letter was marked ''confidential''.

Instead of explaining how a senior staff member's letter alleging corruption was ignored, the Ministry categorises Dubey's complaint as routine. ''The PMO receives many anonymous or improperly identified letters alleging irregularities and corruption. It has no way of knowing genuineness of these letters, nor is it function to take action on their specific contents. The latter is the responsibility of the concerned administrative Ministry.''

The note also does not mention why Dubey was asked to clarify by the NHAI's Vigilance Officer on why he had written to the Prime Minister contravening all government service rules. Instead, it quotes from a reply of another letter: Dubey in his letter to the Manager (Vigilance), NHAI, dated February 2, 2003 said, ''The letter intended to be addressed to the Chairman NHAI with only a copy endorsed to the office of the PMO was inadvertently addressed to the PMO. The letter was also addressed and sent to Chairman NHAI.''

The question left unanswered: Why should Dubey say this when he has already written to the NHAI Chairman on the threat to his life following the letter to the PMO?

The note released today also says that the ''Dubey was not penalised for writing directly to the Prime Minister. On the contrary, on October 31, 2003, he was promoted to the post of Deputy General Manager in NHAI in recognition of his professional competence.''

The Ministry has put the entire blame on the law and order problem in Bihar and the fact that it wrote five letters to Rabri Devi. ''It is a matter of record that personnel employed in the implementation of NHDP in Bihar have been under constant threat...first letter on March 15 2003 said: 'People working in NHDP are getting repeated threats and warnings of dire consequences. This has caused an atmosphere of fear and terror and is coming in the way of progress of the work.'''

The note ends by claiming that NHAI itself was ''fully alive to the shortcomings of the existing systems and had already initiated a series of measures to improve the procedures.''

Giving an example, the note says that the Koderma unit of NHAI removed four engineers and two lab assistants of the contractor and supervision consultant. Based on the shortcomings that Dubey had pointed out, nearly a kilometre of ''substandard granular sub base layer of the road'' was asked to be dug up and re-laid.

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