They wanted answers under RTI but what they got were sealed packets of used contraceptives. This happened in Rajasthan where two petitioners sought answers under the Right to Information (RTI) Act from their village panchayat on development projects but instead got the mysterious parcel.
Vikas Chaudhary and Manohar Lal, residents of Hanumangarh district, had sent an RTI query to the village panchayat on April 16 last year on alleged corrupt practices in the development projects undertaken since 2001.
The Right To Information Act mandates that the reply be furnished within 30 days but the petitioners said that the response had come only recently. They also said the reply was sent by the village panchayat on the orders of the state information commission.
Mr Choudhary was the first person to receive a response. Apprehensive over the content of the other envelope, he and Mr Lal called the Block Development Officer (BDO) to their village so that he can also see what was in the other packet, Mr Chaudhary said.
"However, the BDO declined to come to our place and hence we opened the packet in the presence of other villagers and filmed the incident," said Chaudhary.
The other packet also contained used contraceptives packed in a newspaper, he added.
Navneet Kumar, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Hanumangarh Zila Parishad told IANS that an investigation had been conducted to get to the bottom of the matter, adding that it could be the outcome of rivalry between two groups in the village. The sarpanch of the village implied that the petitioners could have mailed the condoms to themselves.
Mr Kumar said there was rivalry between two groups in the village who are trying to downplay each other, alluding that this time, they had resorted to newer means to garner more attention.
"Gopiram, BDO, Bhadra, has carried out an investigation in this matter. He has spoken to sarpanch and other village officials. The sarpanch claimed that a few men have been playing foul against them and hence they will get the FIR registered against these men. They keep threatening us as well as officials in the name of RTI and send unnecessary queries," Mr Kumar added.
The sarpanch also contended that it needs to be investigated what seal the envelopes carried and whether the the petitioners themselves had sent the condoms.