Fighting corruption through RTI

Gopal Prasad believes that RTI activists should not be dependent on the government for security

danish

Danish Raza | January 17, 2011


Gopal Prasad
Gopal Prasad

Gopal Prasad’s day begins with reading 12 national newspapers. He then takes note of the news items on which he can file applications under the right to information (RTI) act. This is followed by drafting the RTI query and posting them to the concerned authorities. What the 38 year old gets in response to the queries, makes headlines, almost every time.

Early this month, media carried the story that the Citi bank was not the only bank involved in fraud. It was reported that in the last five years, 279 cases of fraud came to light involving 259 banks.

The news reports were based on the information obtained by Prasad using the RTI act.

In August last year, Prasad hit headlines for highlighting that 38 policemen posted at the president’s house and 32 policemen in the security unit of the Delhi police were facing corruption charges.

In the last seven months, Prasad, a resident of Mandawali in East Delhi, has filed around 250 RTI applications in various departments including the prime minister’s office, president secretariat, ministry of home affairs and finance ministry.

Maximum number of applications has been filed with the Delhi police.

In 1999, Gopal left Darbhanga in Bihar for Delhi to join a business promotion firm. After brief stints in some private companies he decided to start his own business.

In 2009, Prasad was attending at a fair in Delhi’s Pragati Maidan where he got a booklet on RTI- his introduction to the act.

“I spent that entire night reading the RTI act,” says he.

Prasad says that in the transparency act, he found a tool to expose the loopholes in governance.

Since then, he has been unearthing irregularities in the government functioning using the RTI act.
Prasad, who says that none of his applications have targeted any individual, makes it a point to draft the application in a manner which does not

give the authorities a chance to evade answers.

“It is an art to draft the questions,” he says.


 

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