What happens to whistleblowers, you ask? You don’t need to cite examples of Edward Snowden, who is passing his days in Russia, or Julian Assange, who is still holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, to illustrate their condition.
The two are better off than thousands around the world. Case in point is the condition of thirty-six-year-old Pravin Mohare.
Mohare is a vegetable seller who makes around Rs.600 daily after toiling the entire day on the streets of Mumbai. That is around Rs.18,000 in a city that features in any list of costliest cities in the world.
Mohare has to feed two mouths besides his own – his wife and a four-year-old daughter. He also has to pay off a loan of Rs.60,000 he took from friends for setting up the vegetable stall.
But things were not so dire for his family a few years ago. Between 2005 and 2014 Mohare was making around Rs.80,000 a month as an agent – those who help film producers get the necessary certificates required before the release of any film.
In August 2014, Mohare took a life changing decision. He colluded with the CBI in exposing Rakesh Kumar, the then Chief Executive Officer of the Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
Kumar was arrested for extracting bribes from film producers to get them their viewing certificates. It was Mohare who acted as the bait that trapped Kumar red-handed. Mohare posed as a producer and offered Rs.50,000 of his own money to Kumar as part of the net cast by the CBI.
Kumar was caught but Mohare suffered.
After Kumar’s arrest, the CBFC created situations in which Mohare could not continue his profession. His ID was blocked and CBFC officials stopped his applications for certification.
From the glitzy world of cinema, Mohare landed hard on the streets of Gorai at Borivalli East.
He also alleges that current CBFC chairman Pahlaj Nihalani assaulted him.
“Ever since I went to the CBI against the CEO of the Censor Board and gave a written complaint to the Malabar Hills police against current chairman Pahlaj Nihalani of assault, they blocked my censor board film producer facilitator login ID without giving any proper explanation,” he told Mumbai Mirror.
He is a broken man today. Not only does he rues seeing his family in a poor condition, he now questions his decision to stand up against corruption.
That the CBI is yet to return the Rs.50,000 he used as a bribe during the operation to nab Kumar aggravates his problems.
And this is what Mohare has to say to people who are fighting corruption:
“You are all alone if you are fighting against corruption. No one comes to support you.”
Looking at the fate of many other whistleblowers in India and the world, one has no reason not to doubt Mohare’s words.