National RTI Award for Vinita Kamte

National RTI Award for Vinita Kamte
Pune:  Vinita Kamte, the wife of slain additional commissioner of police Ashok Kamte who died fighting terrorists during the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, has been declared the winner of National RTI Award 2010 in the 'Best RTI Citizen' category.

Right to information activist Satish Shetty, who was murdered in Lonavla, would be honoured posthumously along with 10 RTI activists who were killed recently.

The awards ceremony is slated to be held in January 2011, where all the winners would be felicitated. The winners were declared by the National RTI Awards Secretariat.

The jury members including Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy, former Supreme Court chief justice JS Verma, journalist Madhu Trehan, former chief election commissioner JM Lyngdoh and journalist Sanjay Gupta decided to honour five citizens, one journalist and one public information officer (PIO) for their exemplary work in the area of RTI.

City-based Vinita Kamte had authored The Last Bullet which highlighted the events leading to the martyrdom of her husband Ashok Kamte. She used the RTI Act to get information from the police records related to the November 26, 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai to write the book.

Other awardees in the 'Best RTI Citizen' category include Manoj Kumar Karwasra and Ramesh Kumar Verma of Haryana, Rajan Savlo Ghate of Goa and Athar Shamsi of Uttar Pradesh.

The 'Best RTI Journalist' award went to Saikat Dutta of Outlook who exposed a scam worth Rs2,500 crore in rice being exported to other countries.

The winner in the 'Best PIO' category is Pradeep Kumar, a young block development officer (BDO) of Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh. Of the 65 applications that he disposed, he did not deny information to a single applicant.

The jury also decided to honour 10 RTI activists who were killed in the recent past. Their names include Amit Jethwa, Satish Shetty, Datta Patil, Vitthal Gite, Sola Ranga Rao, Sashidhar Mishra, Vishram Laxman Dodiya, Venkatesh, Lalit Kumar Mehta and Kameshwar Yadav.

Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF) instituted the RTI Awards in 2009. It was set up on December 19 by Magsaysay awardee Arvind Kejirwal, former journalist Manish Sisodia and TV producer and writer Abhinandan Sekhri to ensure that society becomes more inclusive and that real power rests with the common citizens of India.

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