'BMC officers forged my sign to fake my presence'

Activist Sudhir Singh complains that after failing to respond to his RTI query about illegal construction at a restaurant in Vikhroli, two S Ward engineers closed the file after faking his presence at a phoney hearing

A Right to Information (RTI) activist has accused a BMC assistant engineer and an executive engineer of faking his presence at an RTI-related hearing to close a case. On January 10, Sudhir Singh filed a complaint to this effect with Assistant Municipal Commissioner (S Ward) Ramakant Biradar, asking him to investigate the matter. 

Hearing in absentia? Activist Sudhir Singh has complained to Assistant 
Municipal Commissioner Ramakant Biradar saying that he was not even 
aware of the hearing that the S Ward officials claim he was present at. 
Pic/Shadab Khan 

According to Singh, on September 8, 2011, he sought details about a restaurant at Vikhroli through RTI. He alleged that a few days before, some residents of the locality had approached him with a complaint that the restaurant owner had fraudulently occupied a portion for illegal construction, and it was causing major inconvenience to them. Following the residents' complaint, Singh filed the RTI application with the intention of taking BMC officials to task by filing an official complaint against them. 

But he failed to receive any information or reply from S Ward. On October 24, 2011, he filed a first appeal seeking a response. On December 26, 2011, he was shocked to receive a letter from S Ward, stating that hearings on his RTI application had taken place on December 7, 2011, and the information had been provided to him. The letter further mentioned that Singh was himself present at the hearing.

"This is a blatant lie. I never got any notification for the hearing nor have I attended any hearing. The engineers have forged the entire incident. They also forged my signature," said Sudhir Singh. Singh has complained that the alleged forgery is in complete disregard of the RTI Act, 2005. He has demanded suitable action against the engineers.

"This amounts to cheating and forgery by two government officials who occupy positions of responsibility. They should be punished," said Singh. 

The other side
Assistant Municipal Commissioner Ramakant Biradar (S Ward) said,  "I will look into the matter." 

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