mid-day editorial: Whistle-blowers need a big dose of security

A report in this paper revealed that hours after cops filed a 1,000-page chargesheet in the Hiranandani kidney racket, Mahesh Tanna, a social worker and complai­nant in the case received a threat letter from a “group of doctors” who asked him not to “act over smart”.

The letter also asked Tanna to stay away from the hospital’s CEO. The complainant says he is being pressurised to stay away from the case by some of the accused out on bail.

Police authorities should offer adequate protection to the whistleblower so he can take the case to its logical end. It’s extremely important because ensuring Tanna’s security may encourage other civilians to expose scams or any wrongdoings they witness, without fearing for their lives.

A whistleblower is innately vulnerable — he is usually fighting a power way bigger than him. His biggest strength is his faith in the judicial system and, therefore, the system should ensure it upholds its end of the bargain. The truth, intangible though it may be, should triumph over falsehood and deceit in an ideal world — a world that whistleblowers dream of turning into reality.

Whistleblowing as a culture is still at a nascent stage in our country, but we have to make sure to open up more avenues and scope for the same because, in the end, it’s the masses who end up feeling duped.

We also need to look at this scam with a wider lens. The issue is not limited to one hospital — a racket of this scale is usually made up of several parties who stand to benefit from it. This case is not an isolated one but a manifestation of the rot within our medical system. It is filth that needs to be flushed out. Let’s not allow some threats to undermine whatever little truth and integrity is left in the society.

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