Ranjeet Soni, 46 years old, was shot dead in broad daylight at around 5 pm on June 2, 2022. He was shot in the back of the head at point blank range within the premises of the office of the Public Works Department (PWD), Vidisha just outside the main entrance to the office.
A report from a fact-finding team, comprising Anjali Bhardwaj, Rolly Shivhare, Ajay Dubey, Amrita Johri and Santosh Malviya, revealed that Ranjeet was using the Right to Information (RTI) Act extensively.
“In our view, the connection between Ranjeet’s murder and his use of the RTI Act to access information and expose alleged corruption/irregularities cannot be denied.”Fact Finding Report on the Murder of Ranjeet Soni in Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh on June 2, 2022
Summary of the report
A fact finding team visited Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh (MP) on June 19, 2022 to meet with the family of Ranjeet Soni who was shot dead on June 2, 2022 inside the premises of the PWD office in Vidisha. The objective was to gather information about the circumstances surrounding the death of Ranjeet Soni and his work on exposing corruption through the use of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The team found that Ranjeet had been extensively using the RTI Act to access information from the government and upon receiving documents showing misuse of public funds or corruption, he was filing complaints to various authorities including the Lokyukta, PWD and the Chief Minister’s Office.
Ranjeet used to work as a contractor and often undertook government works in collaboration with other contractors, including those being investigated for his murder. A few years ago, due to some falling out between them, Ranjeet stopped working with them as a contractor on government works.
Ranjeet had been threatened multiple times to withdraw the RTI applications by contractors against whom he had filed complaints and he had also previously been attacked in the PWD office. He had filed complaints about these incidents to the Police seeking appropriate action.
Based on the findings, the recommendations include making public all the RTI applications filed by Ranjeet Soni and their replies, a thorough probe into the various complaints filed by him and investigation into the nexus between the contractors and officials.
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