RTI activist who exposed MGNREGA scam in Bihar killed
Ram Kumar Thakur (48), RTI activist who was one of the key persons to expose the scam relating to payments under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar was killed in his native village, Ratnauli. On March 23 evening, he was shot twice while he was on his way to home. His treatment was allegedly delayed by two hours as he was moved to a distant private hospital where the doctors declared him as brought dead.
Thakur’s family has filed a FIR wherein Ratnauli panchayat mukhiya, Rajkumar Sahini and his brothers have been named the main accused.
Thakur was associated with the non-profit, Bihar MGNREGA Watch and filed several Right to Information (RTI) applications to expose the irregularities in payments under the rural employment scheme. His exposures lead to a social audit of the scheme in the village State Rural Development Ministry. He filed a petition in the local vigilance court, seeking arrest of those accused in the MGNREGA scam and irregularities in installation of solar lights. He was reportedly beaten up by Rajkumar and his henchmen in January, 2012 during the social audit of the scheme forcing him to demand police protection. Some of the disclosures made by him revealed that:
- Payment of wages was made to non-existent labourers
- Some of the civil works were completed only on paper
- Withdraw of funds allotted for civil works through fake signatures.