The woman who filed PIL against the Robert Vadra case [Interview]

Dr Nutan Thakur is one of those women who know the power of common man. She is a social activist, and a very prominent journalist. Last week she filed a PIL in the Allahabad High Court regarding the Robert Vadra – DLF case. TIF caught up with Dr Nutan Thakur and sought out some answers to what common man can do in such situations, and her views on the Robert Vadra case.

Case filed in HC against Robert Vadra

TIF: Please tell exactly what the PIL filed by you says

Dr Nutan Thakur: My Writ Petition No 8596/2012 (M/B) filed in the Allahabad High Court, Lucknow bench was as regards the allegations made by Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bushan against Robert Vadra and DLF.  In the Petition, I prayed that the Principal Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office shall be directed to decide over my representation sent to the Prime Minister to conduct an enquiry in the allegations being levelled against Vadra on the merit of facts presented in the representation and to accordingly get an enquiry conducted in the various extremely serious allegations being made.   Asok Pande is my counsel in this case.

Before filing the Petition, I  sent a representation to the Prime Minister enclosing the various allegations made by Kejriwal. I  said that despite specific denials by the DLF company and Robert Vadra as regards the allegations leveled by Kejriwal and Bhushan, some of the basic questions remain completely unanswered, including the fact that how could a company grow to Rs. 500 crore worth with a initial investment of mere Rs. 50 lakh, which are being brought up by various newspapers. Hence, it becomes imperative for the Government of India to enquire into these serious allegations through Income Tax, Enforcement Directorate or whatever appropriate authorities it deems fit and capable for enquiring. I also requested him to officially explain the facts before the people of this country as to how and why exactly this happened.

TIF: What are your views on how such a happening in the country affect the common man?

Dr Nutan Thakur: These things affect the common man very seriously and very severely. Corruption is something that affects each of us directly and indirectly, in our day to day life and in longer period. The bad aspect of this phenomenon is that often we are not aware of the ill-effects of corruption and don’t take it very seriously.

TIF: Kejriwal’s method of ‘naming and shaming’ is bad for Indian politics. Agree or Disagree?

Dr Nutan Thakur: I disagree because I think he has initiated the much needed thing in Indian politics. So far the style was that I will save your skin and you save mine. Now he is trying to make everyone responsible for his acts.

TIF: Veerappa Moily has claimed that no case can be made out against Vadra. His statement says “I have already verified these allegations and no wrongdoings have been found in any of the six Robert Vadra-owned companies,” what do you have to say to that?

Dr Nutan Thakur: It is very sad that a Cabinet Minister says so, that too without any enquiry. I would say that it is disgusting and depressing. We must resist all such attempts by all kinds of Ministers and politiciDr Nutan Thakur.

TIF: As a social activist, what would you suggest people to do to raise their voice against such gross misdoings in our country?

Dr Nutan Thakur:  Yes, certainly. In all possible ways. We each owe and own it to our Nation and to its people. We cannot remain immune and unaffected by things around us.

TIF: Please tell us something about IRDS/ National RTI Forum

Dr Nutan Thakur: I am associated with two organizations IRDS and National RTI forum. Institute for Research and Documentation in Social Sciences (IRDS), is a Non government Organization working in areas of Research and Documentation, Judicial Reforms, Human Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). National RTI Forum (NRF) was formed with a sincere and genuine effort to support the RTI activists. Later it expanded into related works like TrDr Nutan Thakurparency and accountability in Governance and Anti-corruption campaigns.

TIF: RTI is a very powerful weapon. But often it happens that because of not using the proper framing of words in an RTI, the questions remain unDr Nutan Thakurwered. For example students have often put RTIs on college administrations regarding fund utilization. But many a times the reply that comes to them is that so and so section is Dr Nutan Thakurwerable to the RTI. What tips will you give to those who want to properly use the power of RTI?

Dr Nutan Thakur: my tips are-

(a)  Be very specific

(b)  Don’t ask questions

(c)  Ask for information only

(d)  Limit yourself in one application

(e)  Don’t make the application too complicated

(f)   Be persistent in your efforts

TIF: What according to you should be done by the government in the Robert Vadra – DLF case?

Dr Nutan Thakur: Enquiry- immediate enquiry by the competent authorities and then take suitable action as per the enquiry report and as per law

TIF: As representatives of the country’s democratic setup, what should be the main responsibilities of the ruling and opposition parties according to you?

Dr Nutan Thakur: To look after the people and to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the land. If this much is done, everything else will follow