Chandrapur Police have demanded Rs. 1.4 lakh per month for police protection to Talathi (village official) Vinod Khobragade, who had accused top district officials and Karnataka EMTA Coal Mines Limited (KECML) of involvement in an illegal mining scandal amounting to Rs. 587 crore, in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra.
“I’m receiving threats from the day I came out boldly against district officials regarding their involvement in the mining scandal. I had demanded police protection, but the police have told me that I will have to pay Rs. 1.4 lakh every month for police protection,” Mr. Khobragade told The Hindu on the phone. “I am a talathi with a salary of around Rs. 20,000 per month. How can the police even expect me to pay such a big amount?”
Mr. Khobragade has hence written to the police, saying that he cannot afford to pay the amount.
Chandrapur Superintendent of Police (SP), Rajiv Jain, confirmed that the police have asked Mr. Khobragade to pay money for protection. “For private police protection, some advance money has to be paid. We’ve told Mr. Khobragade to pay the money,” SP Rajiv Jain said.
When asked regarding Mr. Khobragade’s inability to pay the money, SP Jain said, “It is private protection case, and we have to go according to government rules. And whenever we provide private protection, we have to charge money as decided by the Government. We don’t have any power regarding this.”
When asked regarding security provided to politicians, SP Jain said that security provided to ministers and politicians is as per the protocol, and they are helpless in private matters, and have to proceed according to the rules.
“This is like endangering the whistleblower’s life. If these types of things happen, no one would have the guts to talk boldly against illegal activities,” said BJP MLA, Devendra Fadnavis.
“Until this whole episode comes to a logical conclusion, Mr. Khobragade should be provided security free of cost,” demanded Mr. Fadnavis.