‘Outlook’ journo bags prize for using RTI for story

Saikat Datta, an assistant editor at the newsweekly magazine Outlook*, has bagged the National RTI Award 2010 for his expose of the Rs 2,500 crore rice scam using the Right to Information (RTI).

Four others were also named for the award by a jury which included the former chief justice of India J.S. Verma, former chief election commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh, and Infosys chief mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy.

According to the New Indian Express:

“Journalist Saikat Datta was praised for taking on influential people in exposing the rice export scam.  The jury felt that he took a great risk in pursuing the story as the people involved were capable of harming him.”

The award, instituted by the Public Cause Research Foundation, was set up by Magsaysay Award winning activist Arvind Kejriwal, and carries a citation, a plaque and Rs 2 lakh.

The award-winning story revealed how vested interests in business and government colluded to circumvent a ban on export of rice. The expose resulted in future deals being cancelled. Last week, the case was referred to CBI for further investigation.

Datta had previously bagged the IPI India award for 2007.

* Disclosures apply


  1. Andy

    Congratulations Saikat ! Truly well done.

  2. Mahesh Vijapurkar

    RTI is a great tool that journalists do not exploit to the hilt. It would remain a great tool for ferreting out the details till such time the officialdom learns to obscure using their usual tactics, a lathe bureaucrats in the Yes, Prime Minister series.

  3. Samanth

    Someone should use RTI to unearth details on how much land was allotted to Infosys, Wipro et al, at what price, what is the current market price and the nett loss to the exchequer….hard to see that happening given the complete cooption of Civil Society by these “Bade Log” …..

  4. Tarlemaga


    I’m in total agreement with you. Infosys,Wipro have been hoarding land of the farmers to create Gold Club’s and Theatres. It is utter nonsense that Govt is blatantly involved in allowing such a White collar crime in broad day light.

    No point in blaming Reddy’s and Yeddy’s alone. Unfortunately the educated elite has been involved in creating laws to suit their needs.

    RTI will only show up the number of acres usurped, but not punish them.

    1. samanth

      Yeddy’s and Kalmadi’s are a critical diversion…a very very useful one, because they convince us, the upper class elites, of our own moral superiority….a year back if you were to ask these self serving elites to name their dream cabinet to rule this country, Barkha Dutt and Tarun Das and Mukesh Ambani would have taken the top slots…

  5. Arjun

    Saikat – I am sorry to say, but your recent story in Outlook is a pathetic piece of journalism. Go after the real crooks. Dont suck up to get your importance. It is a sad day for India when honest people are targeted for corruption. Did you not find anyone else … sad. Promising journalist – sold out.

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