By ABHINANDAN MISHRA | New Delhi | 16 July, 2017 Sunday Guardian
Notice to whistleblower raises questions about secrecy.
The whistleblower in the Sanjay Narang property case in the Landour cantonment area of Mussoorie has been served a notice by Narang, raising serious questions regarding the government’s onus to maintain confidentiality of such complainants, who have often been attacked.
Narang has served a notice to Y. Ashok Babu, estate officer of the Institute of Technology Management (ITM), which is a laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), asking him “to either substantiate with evidence the allegations made by you, or to unconditionally withdraw these allegations within seven days, failing which I reserve my options open to file a case against you personally for defamation under section 499/500 of the Indian Penal Code, as your letter to the CVC/CBI (and circulated to the media) was sent by you in your personal capacity”.
A copy of the notice has been forwarded to the DRDO, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and multiple departments under Ministry of Defence (MoD). The Sunday Guardian also has a copy of the same.
Ashok Babu had earlier filed a complaint with the CVC seeking a probe into the irregularities regarding Narang’s properties which are located in the sensitive area of Landour cantonment and adjacent to the ITM laboratory.
Ashok Babu had pointed out that several commercial establishments were running in Landour, allegedly without permission, and they posed a security threat to the defence establishments. He had stressed that this could be “bigger than the Adarsh housing scam”.
The Ministry of Defence was forced to take stock of the situation at the Landour cantonment. The CVC had asked for comments from all departments concerned. A fact-finding mission comprising senior officials of the department of defence estates had visited Landour later. Narang has stated in his notice: “I have been questioned by the CBI and the officials of the Cantonment Board Landour (CBL) based on the false complaints made by you against me and by your action of feeding completely false information to various media outlets. The purpose of this letter is to place on record the correct facts pertaining to each of your allegations made to the CBI, CVC and media.”
Reached for comments, Ashok Babu, while acknowledging that he had received the notice, said that the “matter was sub judice”.
Sources close to him said the whole development was a matter of great concern for whistleblowers. “How can the content of a complaint filed by a government servant with the CBI, Ministry of Defence and the CVC reach a private individual, an individual against whom the complaint is filed? A senior government servant is being threatened with a notice for whistleblowing against corruption,” an official source said.