Satyendra Dubey

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Satyendra Dubey
Born (1973-11-27)27 November 1973
Died 27 November 2003(2003-11-27) (aged 30)
Gaya, India
Cause of death
Assassination
Nationality India
Education B. Tech (Civil 1994), M. Tech (Civil 1996)
Alma mater IIT Kanpur, IIT Varanasi
Occupation Project Director
Employer Govt. of India
Organization IES, NHAI
Known for Killed for exposing corruption in NHAI project[dubious ]
Notable work(s) Exposed corruption in Government system[citation needed]
Home town Siwan District

Satyendra Dubey (1973–2003) was an Indian Engineering Service (IES) officer. He was the Project Director in the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) at Koderma. He was murdered in Gaya, Bihar after fighting corruption in the Golden Quadrilateral highway construction project.

Early life[edit]

Satyendra Dubey, the son of Bageshwari Dubey and Phulamati Devi, was born at the village of Sahpur in the Siwan district of Bihar, India. The family of five girls and two boys subsisted on a small piece of land, and Bageshwari also held a low-paying clerical position in a nearby sugar mill. Until the age of 15 he studied at the Gang Baksh Kanodiya High School in Sahpur and then joined junior college at Allahabad, about three hundred kilometres away. Satyendra was the topper of the state in 10th and 12th board exams. He got admission to the Civil Engineering Department of IIT Kanpur in 1990 and graduated in 1994. Subsequently, he did his M. Tech (Civil Engg.) from IIT Varanasi [1] in 1996.

Professional life[edit]

After his masters, Satyendra joined the Indian Engineering Service (IES) and in July 2002, went on deputation to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI). Dubey became the Project Director at Koderma, Jharkhand, responsible for managing a part of the Aurangabad-Barachatti section of National Highway 2 (The Grand Trunk Road).[2] This highway was part of the Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) Corridor Project, the Prime Minister's initiative, which aimed to connect many of the country's major cities by four-lane limited-access highways totalling 14,000 km, at an overall cost more than USD 10 billion. During this period, Dubey got the contractor of the project to suspend three of his engineers after exposing serious financial irregularities. At one point, he had the contractor rebuild six kilometres of under-quality road, a huge loss for the road contract mafia.[3]

Exposing Corruption[edit]

The GQ project had strict controls to ensure that the construction work would be carried on by experienced firms with proper systems. A second independent contract was given for supervision of the project. However, Dubey discovered that the contracted firm, Larsen and Toubro, had been subcontracting the actual work to smaller low-technology groups, controlled by the local mafia.[clarification needed] When he wrote to his boss, NHAI Project Director SK Soni, and to Brij Satish Kapoor, engineer overlooking the supervision, there was no action.[citation needed] According to the police's First Information Report (FIR) after his murder, Dubey had been facing several threats following his action against corruption at Koderma. A subsequent FIR filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) named both Soni and Kapoor. In August 2003, he was transferred to Gaya, a transfer which he opposed since he felt that it did not serve the interests of NHAI. At Gaya, he exposed large-scale flouting[clarification needed] of NHAI rules regarding sub-contracting and quality control. At this time he took a departmental test and was promoted as deputy general manager, which made him eligible to take charge as project director. Since there was no project director's post in Gaya, he was likely to be posted to Koderma soon. There was widespread sentiment (based on their pattern of operation), that the criminal nexus, opposed to having him as director, may have been behind his murder.[speculation?]

Letter to the Prime Minister[edit]

Meanwhile, faced with the possibility of high-level corruption within the NHAI, Dubey wrote directly to the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, detailing the financial and contractual irregularities in the project. While the letter was not signed, he attached a separate bio-data so that the matter would be taken more seriously. Despite a direct request that his identity be kept secret and despite the letter's sensitive content, accusing some of Dubey's superiors, the letter along with bio-data was forwarded immediately to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Dubey also sent the same letter to the Chairman of the NHAI. Soon Dubey received a reprimand: the vigilance office of NHAI officially cautioned Dubey for the impropriety of writing a letter directly to the Prime minister. In the process, through connections in the NHAI and the Ministry.

The letter said the NHAI officials showed a great hurry in giving mobilisation advance to selected contractors for financial consideration. "In some cases the contractors have been given mobilisation advance just a day after signing the contract agreement."

"The entire mobilisation advance of 10 per cent of contract value, which goes up to Rs 40 crore (USD 10 million) in certain cases, are paid to contractors within a few weeks of award of work but there is little follow up to ensure that they are actually mobilised at the site with the same pace, and the result is that the advance remains lying with contractors or gets diverted to their other activities," it said.

Dubey also highlighted the problems of sub-contracting by the primary contractors like Larsen and Toubro.

"Though the NHAI is going for international competitive bidding to procure the most competent civil contractors for execution of its projects, when it comes to actual execution, it is found that most of the works, sometimes even up to 100 per cent are subcontracted to petty contractors incapable of executing such big projects," he said. "A dream project of unparalleled importance to the Nation but in reality a great loot of public money because of very poor implementation at every state." wrote Dubey. Finally, he ends: "I have written all these in my individual capacity. However, I will keep on addressing these issues in my official capacity in the limited domain within the powers delegated to me," the letter said.

Murder and aftermath[edit]

On 27 November 2003, Dubey was returning from a wedding in Varanasi, and called his driver to meet him at the station. He reached Gaya railway station at three in the morning, and found that the car was not able to come because of a battery malfunction. It appears that at this point Dubey decided to take a rickshaw home. When he didn’t reach home, his driver went to look for him and found him dead by the side of the road in the suburb of A.P. Colony. He had been shot. The news ignited tremendous public hue and cry. The matter was raised in Parliament, and the Prime Minister shifted the onus of investigation from the Bihar Police (who might themselves be implicated), to the CBI.[4] The CBI registered a case against unknown persons under 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 302 (murder) of Indian Penal Code and various provision under the Arms Act on 14 December 2003.

The investigation[edit]

In early investigations, the CBI interrogated the rickshaw puller Pradeep Kumar who was caught using Dubey's stolen cell phone. The mobile phone had been switched off for about a fortnight after the murder, but then Kumar called his 'second wife' in Kolkata, following which the CBI traced the rickshaw puller to his slum in Gaya. Although Kumar had a criminal history in similar cases of robbery, it appears he was released after interrogation, and could not be traced a month later. Two other suspects, Sheonath Sah and Mukendra Paswan, were questioned by the CBI. They were found dead from poisoning on 1 February 2004, within 25 hours of the CBI questioning. Sah's father lodged an FIR against the CBI with the Bihar Police, but CBI Director Umashanker Mishra called their deaths a suicide in a press meeting a few days later.[5] The CBI later arrested four persons, Uday Mallah, Mantu Kumar, Tutu Kumar and Babloo, all belonging to Katari village of Gaya on 6 June 2004. On 13 June, the CBI arrested another accused Sarvan Paswan.[6] In conclusion of its investigations, CBI arraigned four persons on 3 September 2004. Based on testimony by Pradeep Kumar, who was his rickshaw puller, the event was presented as an attempted robbery. Because Satyendra put up a fight about giving up his briefcase, he was shot. The person accused of actually shooting Dubey with a country-made pistol was Mantu Kumar, son of Lachhu Singh, of Village Katari, Gaya district. Accomplices with him included Uday Kumar, Pinku Ravidas and Shravan Kumar.

Mantu Kumar was arrested from near his home in Panchayatee khada in Gaya. He had apparently been living in Gaya town and working as a rickshawpuller. On 19 September 2005, while the case was being heard in Patna, Bihar in the court of Addl. Session Judge, J M Sharma, Mantu Kumar escaped from the court premises, leading to widespread allegations of police complicity.[citation needed] While Mantu was being held at the high security Beur Jail, the invigilation can be lax during such court appearances, and it is a common tactic of the mafia to organise a few policemen to make it possible for the criminal to escape.[speculation?] It was felt that the escape was engineered by higher-ups who may have executed the murder through Mantu Kumar.[original research?] The CBI announced a cash reward of Rs. 100,000 for apprehending Mantu.[7]

CBI Report and Conviction of accused[edit]

It is possible that Dubey may have been the victim of a simple robbery during which Mantu Kumar shot him, as alleged in the case filed by CBI.[original research?] However, given the death and disappearance of several witnesses and the startling escape of the prime accused, there is widespread speculation that vested interests may have engaged the criminals who actually pulled the trigger.[speculation?] As for the GQ project, the Supreme Court is currently overlooking investigations into the corruption charges initially raised by the Dubey letter. Several official have been indicted and a technical team is overseeing the actual construction. Also, as of September 2005, news reports indicated that the law ministry was about to introduce legislation to protect whistleblowers. Meanwhile, on 10 February 2006, a 600 meter stretch of the GQ highway connecting Kolkata to Chennai subsided into the ground, opening up ten meter gorges near Bally, West Bengal.[8] This stretch had been executed as a joint venture between two Malaysian firms RBM and Pati, selected after global tendering.

More than six years after the murder, on 22 March 2010 Patna Court convicted three accused Mantu Kumar, Udai Kumar and Pinku Ravidas for murdering Dubey.[9] The court convicted accused Mantu Kumar under Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 302 (Murder), 394 (Voluntary causing hurt in committing robbery) and 27 (A) Arms Act for possessing unlicensed weapon.The other two accused were convicted under Section 302/34 (Murder committed in furtherance of common intention) and 394 IPC.

Legacy[edit]

Awards and Fellowships dedicated to Satyendra Dubey[edit]

Dubey's murder drew several protests in India and abroad, especially by the media. Student and Alumni bodies of IITs took the lead in raising this issue. S. K. Dubey Foundation for Fight Against Corruption was founded in the US by Ashutosh Aman (IIT Kanpur, Satyendra's batchmate) and Atal Bansal (IIT Kanpur) to systematically fight against corruption. IIT Kanpur instituted an annual award in his name, Satyendra K Dubey Memorial Award, to be given to an IIT alumnus for displaying highest professional integrity in upholding human values.[10] Arvind Kejriwal, a recipient of this award, went on to receive the Ramon Magsaysay Award as well.

The Indian Express also announced a fellowship in the name of Dubey.[11]

Institute for Research and Documentation in Social Sciences (IRDS), a Non-governmental organisation from Lucknow has been awarding the Satyendra Dubey award for civil services in reverence to his contributions to the cause of fighting corruption.[12]

Awards given to Satyendra Dubey[edit]

  • The Service Excellence award from the All India Management Association.[14]

In Popular Media[edit]

  • On 26 November 2007 NDTV aired a documentary by Mini Vaid on Satyendra Dubey, produced by Ashutosh Aman on behalf of the S K Dubey Foundation.[16]
  • Famous Indian musician Rabbi Shergill has dedicated one stanza in his song titled 'Bilqis (Jinhe Naaz Hai)' from album Avengi Ja Nahin to Satyendra Dubey. This song is a dedication to all those who died in vain or while supporting some cause (anti-corruption).
  • Indian crime television series, Crime Patrol, dedicated their hundredth episode to Satyendra Dubey on 7 April 2012.

See also[edit]

  • Narendra Kumar was an IPS officer murdered by alleged members of mining mafia in Madhya Pradesh.

References[edit]

External links[edit]