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Manjunath- A Batchmate on my mine

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This is just to mark the 4 th anniversary of my IIM Lucknow MBA batchmate Manjunath.

Below excerpt  on the circumstances of his death from Wikipedia. R.I.P.

Shanmughan Manjunath

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanmughan_Manjunath

 

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Shanmugam Manjunath ( Kannada: ಷಣ್ಮುಗಂ ಮಂಜುನಾಥ) (1978 Kolar-2005) was a marketing manager for the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) who was murdered for sealing a corrupt petrol station in UP. This incident inspired several students at IIM, IIT and other institutes.

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Education

Manjunath earned his Computer Science Engineering degree from Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering, Mysore, and an MBA from Indian Institute of Management Lucknow.

Opposition to corruption and murder

While working for the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) in Lucknow, he had ordered two petrol pumps at Lakhimpur Kheri sealed for selling adulterated fuel for three months. When the pump started operating again a month later, Manjunath decided to conduct a surprise raid around November 19, 2005.

Having not heard from his son for three days, at around 9 that night, his father, M Shanmughan, had sent an SMS: “How are you?”. There was no reply because that very night, during his inspection, Manjunath had been shot dead in Gola Gokarannath town of Lakhimpur Kheri. His body, riddled with at least six bullets, was found in the backseat of his own car, which was being driven by two employees of the petrol pump. Both were arrested and the main accused, pump-owner Pawan Kumar (‘Monu’) Mittal, was held on November 23 along with seven others.

Murder Trial

Manjunath’s death came close on the heels of the assassination of Satyendra Dubey, suspected to have been for similar reasons (fighting corruption). Following the murder, there was immense media spotlight on the case. S. Manjunath’s batchmates from IIM Lucknow (where he was affectionately called machan) also kept the story alive.

Fortunately, the Manjunath Shanmugam Trust took up the case with dogged determination. The Trust lawyer Mr. I.B Singh, the Public Prosecutor Sri Chandramohan Singh, Trustees, volunteers and supporters worked hard to ensure quick justice.16 months after the murder,all eight accused were guilty by the Lakhimpur Khiri Sessions Court (not a fast track court!). This is in sharp contrast to the 6 years for the Sanjeev Nanda hit-and-run case and the Jessica Lall murder case to come to trial. where the son of an influential MP was acquitted by a smaller court and finally convicted in the Delhi High Court after a sustained outcry by the public and dogged campaign by the media.

The main accused Monu Mittal and 7 accomplices were convicted of murder by Sessions judge, Lakhimpur Kheri. [1]

Bail appeals by the convicted killers are being heard in the Lucknow High Court – the Manjunath Shanmugam Trust lawyer Mr. I.B Singh continues to work closely with the case.

Aftermath

The conviction gives renewed faith for citizens of India in their legal justice system in terms of punishing the guilty and also timely justice, bringing it somewhat in line with western justice systems. The speed of this case is also the result of efforts undertaken by the government to clear the huge backlog of cases in Indian courts.

Indian Oil Corporation paid Rs. 26 lakhs compensation to the family. The matter of adulteration in diesel was taken up by the Energy Coordination Committee chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. One of the policy remedies being considered is to minimize the subsidy in the price of kerosene (used as cooking fuel by the weaker classes), and to explore alternate mechanisms for implementing the subsidy. Subsequently, several tanker trucks, laden with thousands of liters of kerosene, were seized en route to a district neighbouring Lakhimpur Kheri [1].

The Manjunath Shanmugam Trust

A pan IIM initiative, “The Manjunath Shanmugam Trust” was registered on 23 February 2006, Manjunath’s birth anniversary. With immediate objectives of fighting the case, they have a broader agenda of improving governance in Indian public life.

On 26 March 2007, the main accused Pawan Kumar Mittal was awarded death sentence, while the other seven accused were sentenced to life imprisonment.

[2]

Key Initiatives The Trust runs India’s first (and only) National Right To Information Act Helpline (080)666-00-999. The 12*7 (8 am – 8 pm)multi language Helpline, serviced by professionally trained call center agents, guides citizens through the features of this powerful tool against corruption.

[edit] The Manjunath Shanmugam Integrity Award

The Manjunath Shanmugam Integrity Award carries a citation and a Rs. One Lakh Cash Award; to honour those who have reported and worked to rectify systemic corruption. The first Manjunath Shanmugam Integrity Award was awarded on March 24, 2007 to Prof. R.P. Singh, Vice Chancellor Lucknow University for his extraordinary courage in taking on criminals and politicians to clean up Lucknow University and implement the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations. The award was presented in a public function by Chairman & Chief Mentor of Infosys Mr. N. R. Narayana Murthy.

Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti president Akhil Gogoi received the prestigious 2nd Shanmugam Manjunath Integrity Award from the Magsassay awardee Kiran Bedi at a function held on March 28, 2008 at the IIT Delhi Seminar Hall. Mr Gogoi who hails from upper Assam’s Golaghat district has been awarded for his fight against corruption. [3]


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