|Whistleblower told to shut up for web- leaking DRDO graft|
|Yatish Yadav/ New Delhi|
SOCIAL networking websites are not alone in facing the government’s ire over content. Now, the telecom ministry is swiftly moving to crack its whip on those blogs which are blowing the whistle over corruption in government departments.
A summon was recently issued to a former Defence Research and Development Organisation ( DRDO) employee, threatening to block his website after getting a complaint about objectionable content posted on www. corruptionindrdo. com . In its letter dated November 30, the telecom ministry has asked whistleblower and former DRDO employee Prabhu Dandriyal, to appear before a committee to present his point of view. Under rule 7 of the Information Technology Rules, 2009, a five- member committee comprising officials of central ministries, including from home, law and telecom, was set up for examining the request for blocking information.
“ A complaint has been received stating that classified information as well as objectionable material regarding DRDO have been uploaded on the website by you and the website should be blocked.
You are requested to present your point of view before the committee on December 9,” the letter added.
Department of information technology director Prafulla Kumar said the ministry does not act on its own to issue summons or block websites. “ A complaint was received in this particular case and we issued the summons to both the parties — the owner of the website and the complainant.
The committee members will give both the parties a fair hearing and then they will decide the next course of action,” he said. The panel had in the past not recommended the blocking of any website since the ministry “ believes in the freedom of expression”, he added.
Dandriyal claims the sole objective of his website is to expose the corrupt elements in the DRDO and protect national security interests. “ The information against corruption in DRDO uploaded on this website by me is backed by appropriate documents, letters and evidence gathered through the Right to Information Act. If anybody wishes to challenge the authenticity of this information, they are welcome to contact me to seek further details,” said the disclaimer on his website.
“ I was blowing the whistle over serious irregularities, whether it is related to procurement, recruitment or any other manipulation.
Because of the expose, they are pressuring me to shut down the website,” Dandriyal said.