Satyendra Dubey, a civil engineer from IIT Kanpur, was murdered in Gaya after his complaint to the prime minister’s office about massive corruption in the government’s pet Golden Quadrilateral project leaked out despite a request to keep it confidential.
What should the prime minister do to restore confidence in the government?
Watch the documentary prepared by Indian crime television series, Crime Patrol, how murder was well planned for Satyendra Dubey, a dry honest engineer in the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), killed in Gaya, Bihar in 2003
When a citizen files a complaint or brings some wrongdoing before the local police, he believes that the police will protect him. The minimum expectation of a citizen from the State is of a reasonable level of safety and protection for his body and life. The State is expected to ensure this at all levels.
The single aspect that differentiates Dubey’s case is the fact that the PMO gave out details of his identity in spite of a specific request to the contrary.
The office of the highest executive authority in the country not only failed to provide him security, it almost seems to have commissioned his murder.
PMO office during Atal Bihari Vajpayi was responsible for leaking Mr. Dubey’s identity hence Atal Bihari Vajpayi should have been held for the murder of Mr Dubey. Incompetent CBI was failed to bring the justice.
Satyendra K. 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 kilometers away. Living away from home was a considerable drain on the meager resources of his family. However, he pursued his dream of becoming an engineer, and was admitted to the Civil Engineering Department of IIT Kanpur in 1990, the first person from his village to enter an IIT. He graduated with an excellent academic record in 1994. Subsequently, he did his M. Tech (Civil Engg.) from IT-BHU in 1996.
He was selected for the Indian Engineering Service (IES) in 1996, India’s top engineering bureaucracy and joined ministry of surface transport. While at the ministry he once called the police when offered a bribe In July 2002 he was employed by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI). Dubey became the Assistant Project Manager at Koderma, Jharkhand, responsible for managing a part of the Aurangabad-Barachatti section of National Highway 1 (The Grand Trunk Road). This highway was part of the Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) Corridor Project, the Prime Minister’s initiative, which aimed to connect many of the country 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 kilometers of under-quality road, a huge loss for the road contract mafia.
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. When he wrote to his boss, NHAI Project Director SK Soni, and to Brig Satish Kapoor, engineer overlooking the supervision, there was no action. 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 when 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 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.
Letter to the Prime Minister
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, it is likely that the letter may have reached the criminal nexus running the highway construction projects in Bihar. Following the event, pressure is mounting in India to incorporate a Whistleblower Law.
Great Loot of Public Money: Contents of Letter
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. Everyone in the NHAI is aware of the phenomenon of subcontracting but looked the other way. “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.
it is rather ‘Shameful loot of public money’. Why are we still standing as a moot spectator? Why cant we just come out of out homes and start the revolution of change and go home only when it is through? but first we have to pledge with ourselves that we will not get involved in any unsocial activity and who is gonna do it, nobody, cause all of us are very thickly involved in it, everybody wants his own aish and aaram. only a gang of sarfiras can change this society…who carry batons and beat the shit out of the culprits publicly.
On November 27, 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. 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 December 14, 2003.
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 February 1, 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. The CBI later arrested four persons, Uday Mallah, Mantu Kumar, Tutu Kumar and Babloo, all belonging to Katari village of Gaya on June 6, 2004. On June 13, the CBI arrested another accused Sarvan Paswan. In conclusion of its investigations, CBI arraigned four persons on September 3, 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 September 19, 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. 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 organize a few policemen to make it possible for the criminal to escape. It was felt that the escape was engineered by higher-ups who may have executed the murder through Mantu Kumar. The CBI announced a cash reward of Rs. 1 Lakh for apprehending Mantu.
Who ordered the murder?
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. 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. 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. This stretch had been executed as a joint venture between two Malaysian firms RBM and Pati, selected after global tendering.
PMO office during Atal Bihari Vajpayi was responsible for leaking Mr. Dubey’s identity hence Atal Bihari Vajpayi should have been held for the murder of Mr Dubey.
More than six years after the murder, on March 22, 2010 Patna Court convicted three accused Mantu Kumar, Udai Kumar and Pinku Ravidas for murdering Dubey. 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.
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. 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. Satyendra Dubey was recognised posthumously by several awards, which included the Whistleblower of the year award from the London-based Index on Censorship, the Transparency International’s Annual integrity award and the Service Excellence award from the All India Management Association. On November 26, 2007 NDTV aired a documentary by Mini Vaid on Satyendra Dubey, produced by Ashutosh Aman on behalf of the S K Dubey Foundation. 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).
Institute for Research and Documentation in Social Sciences (IRDS), a Non-governmental organization from Lucknow has been awarding the Satyendra Dubey award for government services in reverence to his contributions to the cause of fighting corruption.
Shanmughan Manjunath: Indian Institute of Management Lucknow graduate and Indian Oil Corporation employee, Manjunath was brutally murdered by the oil mafia in 2005 when he tried to check petrol adulteration in Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh.
Jessica Lal murder case of a Delhi-model shot by Manu Sharma, the son of Haryana’s electricity minister. After a huge hue and cry, Manu Sharma was convicted and is serving out his prison term.
Priyadarshini Mattoo Law student raped and killed by a classmate stalker who is the son of a high ranking police officer. Detectives were influenced by the policeman to go easy on the killer, and thus the case was transferred to the CBI. Murderer found guilty after dogged pursuit of justice by the media and the victim’s family, and sentenced to death.
Rizwanur Rahman was a 30-year-old computer graphics trainer who was possibly murdered after marrying Priyanka Todi, daughter of industrialist Ashok Todi. Initially, the incident was made out to be suicide.
Sanjeev Nanda hit-and-run case where the grandson of a former Chief of Navy, ran over 6 people in 1999 and acquitted in a lower court because the court did not find any of the witnesses reliable and the defense was able to make the case that it was perhaps a truck and not the BMW that had caused the deaths. Following the media hue and cry, another court in September 2008 sentenced him to five years in jail.
Narendra Kumar was an IPS officer murdered by alleged members of mining mafia in Madhya Pradesh.
^ S.K. Dubey Foundation
^ BBC 10 December 2003 Veejaypee demands murder enquiry
^ BBC 2 February 2004 Suicides in Indian Murder Case
^ http://www.cbi.gov.in/pressreleases/PRelease2004/pr14jun04.htm CBI press release 14 June 2004
^ CBI announcement with reward offer
^ Indian Express, 10 February 2006 GQ: Howrah highway stretch caves in
^ Indian Express, 22 March 2010 Three convicted in Satyendra Dubey murder case
^ IIT Madras announcement of Satyendra K Dubey Memorial Award
^ Indian Express 24 February 2004 Express announces Dubey fellowship at IIT Kanpur
^ Indian Express 23 March 2004 Dubey gets global award, his family waits for justice
^ Satyama jayate
^ Mini Vaid (2007-11-27). “Can you hear the whistle blow?”. Indian Express. Retrieved 2007-11-27.
^ http://bhadas4media.com/article-comment/2577-2012-02-15-05-22-58.html Indian crime television series, Crime Patrol, dedicated their hundredth episode to Satyendra Dubey on April 7, 2012.
^ Mattoo case: Justice delayed, denied and awarded.
|Satyendra Kumar Dubey|
|Died||27 November 2003
|Cause of death||Assassination|
|Education||B.Tech (Civil 1994), M.Tech (Civil 1996)|
|Alma mater||IIT Kanpur, Banaras Hindu University|
|Employer||Govt. of India|
|Known for||killed for exposing corruption in NHAI project|
|Notable work(s)||Exposed corruption in Government system|
|Home town||Siwan District|