Untold Story: An IES Officer Who Gave His Own Life To Fuel War Against Corruption

When Alka was getting married in 2005 the whole house was wrapped in a silent gloom instead of celebrations. Her brother had been planning for this day ever since he got employed but wasn’t around to witness it. The eldest son in the family Satyendra Dubey was shot dead in broad daylight for doing something which deserved several medals and accolades.

Satyendra wasn’t born with a silver spoon but worked very hard to reach a certain stability in life. Despite coming from an underprivileged background he secured a commanding position with the National Highway Authority of India but was shocked to see the amount of corruption. He tried everything he could to stop this rotten cycle but failed. Finally, he wrote to the Prime Minister but the apathy at the top gave him a bullet in his head.

Eldest son in a family of five girls and two boys, Satyendra grew up in Shahpur village of Sivan district in Bihar. Day in and day out he saw his father slog in a sugar mill near by and decided to pull the family out of their routine struggles. Hard work and moral ethics became his pillars right from the childhood. His life was filled with roadblocks but he worked very hard and rode past every problem. He was a sharp student and assured his father to become his strength and give his sisters a nice wedding.

His effort bore fruits and he was enrolled to study civil engineer from the prestigious IIT Kanpur from where he graduated in 1994 with top honors – something that the entire village still boasts about. He began working with the Ministry of Road and Surface Transport and then joined National Highway Authority of India as a project director to deputation. The family was proud of their son and Satyendra gave everything to his work.

However, things changed when Satyendra was sent to build the golden quadrilateral highway construction project. He was shocked to see that corruption was eating away such an important project and everyone seemed to be supporting the scam. Tenders for construction work worth crores of rupees was given to small contractors who were clearly incapable of handling such crucial projects. On the top of this, they were released government funds much before the stipulated time. This blatant breaking of rules surprised him and he started countering people in his personal capacity.

The reward for speaking against these financial discrepancies and poor implementation of the building contracts got him transferred from Koderma in Jharkhand to Gaya in Bihar. But Satyendra couldn’t ignore these practices which were eating away his country’s backbone. He was standing against a force which was much stronger than him. He discovered that this nexus was not limited to a city or a district but had engulfed the entire nation. Realizing that he alone cannot stop this he wrote a letter to the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee informing him about the corrupt practices. He sought his help in stopping it and requested that his identity is kept a secret. He knew that if the people involved in this game got even the slightest hint of his initiative he would be killed.

But ignoring his concerns the PMO forwarded the letter to several departments with Satyendra’s name. It was tossed around several times and in-house sources for the mafias passed them the information. One day when Satyendra was returning from work, he was shot dead in a rickshaw. He was shot dead for telling the truth, for blowing the whistle. This was a tight slap on everyone’s face who wanted to pursue an ethically correct path rather than filling their pockets with stolen gold.

Unfortunately, the CBI investigated the case and said that Satyendra was killed because he tried to resist a robbery. After his murder in 2003 there was huge rage among people and a PIL was filed to protect the whistleblowers which is still awaiting enactment.

The football playground in a school in Shahpur village where once Satyendra played as a child now doubles up as his cremation site. He was someone who wanted to see India flourish and become corruption-free. He was hopeful to live in a country which respects the contribution of every tax payer but was silenced by the dark forces forever. It was very easy for him to get join hands with the mafia and make crores of rupees but he held on to the values of truth, justice and transparency.

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