What do three sackings from the same job, a scam, a corrupt employer, and a small budget leave you with? An independent filmmaker, if you are former RPF official Dinesh Chandra Pandey.
Seeking to capture the corruption infesting the Railway Protection Force (RPF) Mumbai, the former head constable who was terminated from service thrice after he raised his voice against the vice, has decided to expose it all on celluloid. Pandey, now 50, says the film would revolve around his experiences as an RPF personnel and run-ins with the authority, intertwined with the Kurla bail bond scam.
Rude dismissal: Dinesh Pandey was sacked the second time when authorities suspected him to be the source of a newspaper article that reported how 14 senior inspectors of the Mumbai RPF made Rs 35 lakh illegally every month. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
"My film is based on a true story. It showcases my life and experiences. I have a small budget but the subject deals with serious and topical issues that plague the RPF," said Pandey. In fact, last month, he wrote (copy of letter with MiD DAY) to PM Manmohan Singh and several railway authorities, including the Railway Minister, asking them to inaugurate the release of the film.
Pandey, who was last terminated one-and-a-half years back, and forcibly so, is working on the film's script, and has enlisted the services of artists in the film industry.
"We have started work on the film and are trying to meet two well-known Bollywood personalities who would direct the film," said Pravin Tripathi, who is helping Pandey with script writing. Given his experience, Pandey has been cautious to consult a journalist and an advocate so the film doesn't suffer from legal and other hiccups.
Asked what his inspiration was, other than the disenchantment with the force, he said, "I was inspired by films such as Kya Yahi Sach Hai by former IPS officer and advocate YP Singh which was based on the malpractices in the police force. I have a sound knowledge of the issue I am dealing with, and have started working on the script."
Thrice removed Pandey lost his job three times in the last three years. He was first dismissed in February 2008, for meeting a former RPF official earlier dismissed for being corrupt. But Pandey got a stay order from the Bombay High Court. The second time was in June the same year, when authorities suspected him to be the source of a newspaper article that reported how 14 senior inspectors of the Mumbai RPF were making Rs 35 lakh illegally every month. Of this, then Inspector General of the force would reportedly get a cut of Rs 20 lakh.
The final firing came in June 2010. Along with 72 RPF members, he was held responsible for delaying an Orissa-bound train. Surprisingly, last month he received information through RTI that he was not responsible for delaying, but only a shunting problem.
Kurla fake bail case In 2009, some RPF officials set up a bogus court at Kurla railway station platform number nine. Wearing a black coat, a head constable played magistrate to commuters "produced" in the mock institute for crossing tracks or travelling in ladies' compartments. The "magistrate" also issued fake bail bond receipts to commuters after taking Rs 500 from them.
Last year the Bombay High Court, commenting on the gravity of the fake bail racket, transferred the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The court said similar rackets could exist elsewhere in the country. Recently, three officials were terminated from service in connection with the bogus court.
Another instance of graft in the RPF is also from 2009, when the CBI had been tipped off that RPF officials are extorting money from passengers travelling on UP-bound trains. The CBI had carried out a raid at the Kurla terminus and caught 14 officials.
The other side Asked about Pandey's claims and the expose in the way of a film, Inspector General Anil Sharma (RPF Mumbai) said, "I don't know. I have not received any letter about any film."