Patna: An RTI activist from Bihar says he faces threats to life after exposing people who are claiming pension meant for freedom fighters though they took no part in the independence struggle.
Manohar Mishra, who is in his early 30s, said the racketers had threatened to kill him and his family members and that his terrorized aged parents were spending sleepless nights.
Mishra, who spoke to IANS on telephone from Kolkata, has urged Home Minister Rajnath Singh to provide him and his family protection.
"After I exposed the fake freedom fighters, the freedom fighter mafia is after me," Mishra said.
"I am afraid they can harm me physically or can trap me in some fake cases," he said.
In a letter to Rajnath Singh, he has demanded a high-level probe over the non-availability of records in respect of the Swatantra Senani Samman Pension scheme.
Mishra said he had requested the departments concerned through RTI to provide a complete list of freedom fighters drawing pension in Bihar.
He said he was informed that there were no such records with the Bihar government.
"It is a matter of deep concern that the government is spending crores of rupees annually without any accountability.
"I can tell you confidently that nearly 90 percent of claims of freedom fighters in Bihar are forged.
"These people are getting pension after submitting fake documents. Interestingly, 80 percent of them were not even born during our country's freedom movement."
According to Mishra, some people running the racket in Bihar were forging documents to "create" spurious freedom fighters.
He said he was "in deep trouble" because the mafia had threatened him and his family.
"I am getting calls from unknown numbers. They are threatening me with dire consequences.
"They are also threatening to seize all my assets and land in my native village (in Bihar). Due to this, my parents have been living in trauma for the last two weeks," he said.
As per 2012-13 figures, Bihar has over 23,000 freedom fighters, the highest in the country, an RTI query by Mishra revealed.
Interestingly, there has been no change in these numbers in the last five years.
The home ministry has informed Mishra that it does not have records for many freedom fighters.