Noted RTI activist and anti-liquor crusader Abhimanyu Panda was shot dead by unidentified assailants at around 7 AM at Balliguda town in Odisha’s Kandhamal district on Tuesday.
Panda was standing in front of his house in Patrasahi locality when he was attacked by motorcycle-borne youths, Sub-Divisional Police Officer, Balliguda, M.R. Barik said.
The two motorcycle-borne men reached Panda’s house and opened fire from a revolver killing him on the spot, according to the police.
“It was a cold-blooded murder,” said Odisha Soochana Adhikar Abhiyan state convener Pradip Pradhan who is on the ground to lead a fact-finding mission on Panda’s murder.
“There is a deep political conspiracy. He had exposed many corruption related to development work like construction of roads. Since long there has been pressure to withdraw the RTI and stop his RTI war. They tried to use influence and money to make him withdraw his RTI applications because these RTI applications exposed officials who are involved in bigger corruption,” he said.
Abhimanyu Panda opposed the opening of a liquor shop in Baliguda. There were many educational institutions and temples around the area, but the Sub-regional Excise department inspectors still granted the license to open the liquor shop. He filed an RTI questioning the procedures followed in opening up the liquor shop and whether they invited any public opinion on it or not. When he was not provided with the information, he went to the High Court which rejected the liquor license.
“There was another two major road construction projects, which involved misappropriation of lakhs of rupees. He filed an RTI to expose it. He filed a complaint to all the secretaries including the rural development one. He filed a number of petitions. The RTI disturbed the people who he wanted to expose. He has been threatened many times in the last three years,” said Pradip Pradhan.
Abhimanyu leaves behind a wife and two children.
Source: Asiaville News