A Right to Information activist who filed a complaint against a powerful Bharatiya Janata Party MLA of his area and various other powerful bureaucrats close to Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan died on Sunday after allegedly falling from the terrace of his building under mysterious circumstances in election-bound Madhya Pradesh.
Manoj Tripathi, a resident of Dwarka Heights building in B Sector Sarvdham Colony in Kolar area of Bhopal fell from the terrace of the five-storey building on the night of November 2. He received multiple fractures and was rushed to Bansal Hospital, a private hospital in Shahpura area. He was on life support for over two weeks and succumbed to his injuries today, on November 18.
Tripathi’s family members claim that on the night of November 2, Tripathi had gone to the terrace to talk on the phone when he allegedly fell. When they rushed to the spot where he had fallen, they found three or four policemen standing next to his body. Tripathi’s relative Anjani Pandey told Newslaundry, “I was on my way back home after dropping him at his residence when I received a call from his wife who informed me about the incident. I rushed back to his residence and found a few police already present at the spot.”
Pandey added, “Nobody knows how he fell from the building—whether he fell or if someone pushed him.”
Tripathi is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter. Three days before he allegedly fell from the building, he submitted a complaint against Madhya Pradesh BJP Vice President and local MLA from Kolar area, Rameshwar Sharma. The complaint dated October 29, 2018, was written to Chief Election Commissioner of India OP Rawat, Chief Election Commissioner of Madhya Pradesh VL Kantarao, and District Collector of Bhopal Sudam Khade.
In his complaint, Tripathi said Rameshwar Sharma had forcefully acquired 7,000 square feet of government land and is illegally constructing a structure on it. He asked Rawat, Kantarao and Khade to file an FIR against Sharma and take appropriate legal action against him. Along with his complaint, he also attached the required documents and the map of the forcefully acquired area, a copy of which is available with Newslaundry.
Copies of part of the complaint Tripathi made against BJP MLA Rameshwar Sharma.
In the past, Tripathi has filed a complaint against SK Mishra, Mangla Mishra, Anupam Rajan and Anil Mathur, all senior IAS officers associated with the Directorate of Public Relations, Madhya Pradesh. Mishra is also the principal secretary to the Chief Minister. Tripathi submitted his complaint to the Superintendent of Police, Economic Offences Wing, and requested that action be taken against the IAS officers for allegedly committing fraud by distributing money from the state treasury to fake news websites by giving publicity advertisements of the Madhya Pradesh government.
Tripathi has also filed a corruption complaint against Radheshyam Julania, additional chief secretary of the water resources department.
It is significant to note that in 2016, Tripathi set himself on fire outside the gates of the house of the governor of Madhya Pradesh, demanding the arrest of the then governor Ram Naresh Yadav for his alleged involvement in the Vyapam scam.
Newslaundry contacted Sunil Sharma, Station House Officer of Kolar area, and asked him about Tripathi’s death. Sharma said, “He was drunk and fell from the terrace and there is nothing suspicious about his death.” On further questioning on the circumstances related to Tripathi’s death, Sharma said, “I cannot talk much about this case. We have to wait for the post-mortem.”
Bhopal-based activist Ajay Dubey said, “He [Tripathi] has done significant work regarding issues related to the municipal corporation, water resources and public works departments. There should be a free and fair enquiry into the matter. He was actively working against corruption, and the death of such a person is totally unacceptable. There was no question of him committing suicide so there is definitely some foul play behind his death.”