RTI activist wanted OSA against Dwivedi, says GRP

Facing flak from various quarters for arresting Mid-Day journalist Tarakant Dwivedi under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), after he wrote about how weapons bought after 26/11 terror attacks were exposed to monsoon rains as they were not stored properly, the Government Railway Police (GRP) officials claimed it was an RTI activist who had insisted the court invoke the OSA in the case.

Dwivedi was arrested on May 17 by the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) railway police. Pradeep Sonthaliya, an RTI activist, had apparently approached the GRP to register a case of trespassing against Dwivedi.

In June 2010, Sonthaliya initially approached the CST railway police station, but the case was not registered. "He had approached us, but we refused to register a complaint as it has to come from the RPF. His complaint mentioned that Dwivedi had trespassed into a restricted zone," said Mumbai Railway Police Commissioner Tukaram Chavan. With the GRP declining to lodge a complaint, early this year he approached the Metropolitan court to register a case against Dwivedi.

GRP officials said the court agreed to invoke trespassing in the case, but refused to charge him under OSA. "Sonthaliya insisted on invoking the OSA. The court refused, but said a competent authority should decide on whether OSA can be invoked in the case," said Bapu Thombre, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Kurla division). The GRP later approached the RPF which is in charge of the armoury. "The RPF personnel in charge of the armoury gave a statement that brought the case under the purview of the OSA after which we booked him under the Act," said a GRP official.

Meanwhile, Dwivedi would be produced before the railway court on Saturday when his custody ends. GRP officials said they are unlikely to seek an extension of his police custody.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on indianexpress.com are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, indianexpress.com reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.