Executive engineer suspended for misuse of RTI Act
An executive engineer in the town planning department of Thane has been suspended by the Municipal Commissioner for allegedly misusing his position. It has been reported that executive engineer Ajit Karnik formed a link with a local RTI activist Mukesh Kanakia to whom he used to pass information which was later used for extortion and harassment.
As an executive engineer, Karnik was entrusted with the task of scrutinizing building plans, verifying legal papers and recommending sanctions for construction projects. He reportedly asked a Doctor to pay Rs 2.75 lakh to the activist Kanakia for withdrawing a complaint about a nursing home being set up in a residential flat of Thane.
Complaints are often filed in the town planning department regarding projects which are underway either without a commencement certificate (CC) or without waiting for a plinth certificate (PC). Such habitual complainants file RTI applications seeking details about a building plan or the modified building plans and later try to blackmail the concerned individual for some procedural lacunae.
Cases where an individual approaches a RTI applicant to withdraw the application or not to proceed any further in the matter are not uncommon. While the case which has come to light may be just a tip of the iceberg, the deeper malaise requires to be attended to in the form of simplified rules and procedures for clearance of building plans.