Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister of India
The Government has asked me to deposit Rs. 9.27 lakhs (out of which one and a half lakhs pertains to a computer loan) as a condition to accept my resignation. I have been trying to explain to the Government for the last 5 years that I have not committed any offence. However, the Government is not willing to accept my explanation.
I am told that this time, my file was also examined by the Prime Minister’s Office and they have also held me guilty. I am still unable to understand what my fault is, for which I am being penalized. If I could understand what wrong I have done, I would not commit it again in future.
I took two years of study leave from Nov 1, 2000. I had informed that I would study reasons for corruption in two Government departments and suggest measures to remove them. I was Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax at that time. I started collecting public grievances related to Income Tax Department and Delhi Vidyut Board from the public. People were being forced to pay bribes because their grievances were not being resolved in time. I collected 700 grievances related to Income Tax department and 2800 grievances related to Electricity Department. We first got the grievances of these 3500 people resolved without payment of bribes by putting pressure on these departments. Then, these grievances were studied in great detail and suggestions were given to both these departments to prevent recurrence of such grievances in future.
At that time, we used to sit at the entrance of Laxmi Nagar, Nand Nagari and Nehru Place offices of Delhi Vidyut Board by putting a table and chair. We would appeal to the people not to pay bribes inside to get their work done. Grievances of several people were got resolved without payment of bribes. The results were very encouraging. Earlier, more than 50 cases used to go to bijli adalat every month from each of these offices. This number came down to 10 cases per month after we started sitting there.
I want to know – did I do anything wrong, which I should not have done, during the study leave?
I joined Income Tax department back from study leave in November 2002. I was not given any posting for almost a year. I kept getting my salary without doing any work. I felt wasted. Since I did not have any leaves left in my account, I applied for two years of “Leave Without Pay”, which was duly sanctioned by the department.
During this leave without pay, I drafted the Right to Information Act along with Shekhar Singh and Prashant Bhushan which was finally passed by the Parliament due to Mrs. Aruna Roy’s efforts, who was a member of NAC at that time. After the enactment of RTI Act, we started working for its implementation.
Using RTI Act, we exposed huge corruption in Delhi’s ration supplies. As a result, there were 7 deadly attacks on our volunteers. In one such attack, the throat of one of our volunteers was slit but she survived. The details of all these attacks and the evidence of corruption exposed in Delhi’s ration supplies was submitted before Hon’ble Supreme Court, who ordered setting up of Justice Wadhwa Commission.
At this point I started feeling that I should devote the rest of my life to this cause. There was no point in going back to the department. Therefore, I resigned from the Income Tax department in February 2006. I would again like to ask you – did I do anything wrong by working on Right to Information during my Leave Without Pay?
When I went on study leave on 1 November 2000, I signed a bond saying that I will not resign for at least three years after returning from study leave. That is the reason I was paid full salary during study leave. I kept my promise. I resigned three and a half years after returning from study leave.
I have consulted many friends and legal experts. I have been advised that I have not done anything wrong under the law. But still the Government is asking me to pay back the salary received by me during the study leave along with interest. The Government’s argument is that I should not have gone on Leave Without Pay after returning from study leave, when I had drafted the country’s RTI Act. As I have already written above, I wasted one year without posting after returning from study leave. Do you think it would have been better if I had taken salary for three and a half years without doing anything?
I have been awarded Magasaysay Award for the work that I did during my leave. It is ironical that the same work is being held to be so wrong by the Government of India that this penalty has been slapped on me. I would again urge you to kindly tell me my fault.
I am enclosing a cheque of Rs. 9,27,787 (Ch No. 938313, dated 3.11.2011). This does not mean that I am admitting my fault. Since I don’t know my fault, there is no question of my admitting it. I am depositing this money under protest. I would be grateful if you could advise Finance Ministry to now accept my resignation as soon as possible. I reserve the right of going to the Court for reimbursement of this money after the acceptance of my resignation.
I do not have any savings. I received more than Rs. 30 lakhs by way of several awards in the last few years. I have donated all this money to the movement. I just have a few thousand rupees in my bank account. In order to pay this money to the Government, I have taken loans from my friends. I received phone calls from hundreds of people from across the country saying that they would like to pay up my “dues”. I am grateful and am thankful to all such people. But if I accepted their money, I would be accused of having misused the movement for my personal gains. Therefore, I have taken loan only from those friends whom I have known for several years.
Right now, the entire Government machinery is being misused to target Team Anna. With folded hands, I would sincerely urge you not to victimize my friends who have loaned this money to me.
Yours Sincerely (Arvind Kejriwal)
Thank You So Much
I have been receiving several phone calls, letters and messages from scores of people offering to pay up my “liabilities” to Income Tax Department. I am simply overwhelmed. I am grateful to everyone. However, I have decided to most humbly decline these offers because if I did so, I would be accused of misusing the movement for my personal gains.
It only shows that the people can see through government’s attempts at targeting Team Anna members. Rather than diminish, such attempts are only increasing support for the movement. It is strengthening people’s resolve to fight against corruption.
I am paying up money to income tax department by taking loans from my old friends. The following friends have given me unsecured interest free loan to pay up my “dues”. The Government has been misusing its machinery for targeting Team Anna. I would sincerely urge them not to target my following friends for helping me.
- Rajiv Saraf: Rs 1.15 Lakh: Civil Engineer, my batchmate from IIT Kharagpur. We stayed in the same wing in the same hostel (Nehru Hall) for four years.
- Subrato Saha: Rs 3.5 Lakhs: Chemical Engineer, my batchmate from IIT Kharagpur. We stayed in the same wing in the same hostel (Nehru Hall) for four years.
- Harish Hande: Rs 3 lakhs: Energy Engineer, one year junior from IIT Kharagpur. We stayed in same hostel for three years.
- Atul Bal: Rs 62,000: From IIT Kharagpur
- Vikas Gangal: Rs 50,000: Energy Engineer, one year junior from IIT Kharagpur. We stayed in same hostel for three years.
- P Srinivas: Rs 50,000: My batchmate from Tata Steel