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Monday, June 25, 2007

The corruption hater

One view of Dinesh Kamat is that this 75-year-old man has lost everything in the pursuit of justice. However, it is not merely the loss which he has endured that qualifies him as a real hero, it is his undaunted spirit to crusade against corruption despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Kamat belongs to the generation of people who had witnessed India’s struggle to be reborn as a free nation – and the subsequent birth pangs of the world’s largest democracy. “In free India I am not happy with the state of affairs of our country and I am certainly not taking it lying down,” said Kamat sitting in his daughter’s residence at Dombivli. He claims the corrupt system has wreaked vengeance on him by divesting him of his house. A property he owns is in the process of being usurped.

Currently he is pursuing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court against unapproved technical institutions operating in the state. The state has formed a high-power committee to study the issue raised by Kamat and would be submitting its report that would be tabled before the High Court soon.

Kamat has realised that taking on the influential and powerful is not an easy task as he has been attacked 23 times and his house ransacked and burgled seven times. Recently he received a phone call threatening him with dire consequences if he did not withdraw the PIL against unapproved technical institutions.

“The call was later traced by the police to a number in the Public Works Department (PWD) building in the High Court precinct,” says Kamat.

On June 21, 2007, a packed courtroom of the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court came to standstill, when Kamat accused the judges across the rank from the lower court to the Supreme Court of malpractice. The tension in the court room eased only when the Chief Justice Swantanter Kumar accepted his application.

Earlier in April 2005, Kamat’s application against malpractice in the judiciary to the Chief Justice was taken suo motto by the High Court and converted into writ petition. “Later I was hit-and-run by a vehicle and during my absence the suo motto writ petition was disposed,” he says.

He now wants the disposed petition to be reinstated.

Besides being a journalist running his Marathi weekly Bobata which roughly means expose, he is a qualified astrologer. He does not mince words and is a person who would not call a spade by any other name.

“The goondas left their slum houses and entered politics. In a years time they managed to get several buildings and several wives. This is without any prejudice to any one political party. There are no exceptions among the thieves,” he says.

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