Anti-terror Money Turns Into Leisure Fund In J&K
2 January 2006
The Times of India
Srinagar: There would be few things to beat this, both on an irony and corruption scale: swindling and misuse of money meant for anti- terrorism activities in terrorism-hit Kashmir. The adversary may be formidable, but that doesn't stop top officials and ministers in J&K from using the Rs 521 crore assigned for 'security-related expenditure' to 'construct and renovate VIP bungalows, furnish houses of bureaucrats and, in some cases, do up private residences of ministers.' According to sources, successive state governments since 1990 have misused this money received from the Centre every year to organise logistics and meet other expenses which should go into fighting militancy in the state. In fact, those at the forefront, the 36,000 special police officers (SPO), who risk their lives everyday fending off well-trained and well-equipped terrorists, receive a paltry remuneration of Rs 1,500 to 2,000 per month. When contacted, CM Ghulam Nabi Azad told TOI that he was surprised to learn about the misuse of the security-related expenditure (SRE). 'The misuse of SRE is a major scandal and I have proposed an inquiry into the scam,' he said. Sources revealed that Rs 20 crore was being spent on lodging and boarding of bureaucrats each year, while some portion of the SRE was given as rent to the premises occupied by paramilitary units since 1990.