Corruption Institutionalized In Kashmir, Awaits Legal Coverup

Corruption Institutionalized In Kashmir, Awaits Legal Coverup

3 June 2012
Punjab Newsline
Bashir Assad

Srinagar: Former BJP president Rajnath Singh unveils only half truth when he says that there were complaints of rampant corruption in Jammu and Kashmir state, the fact remains that corruption in J&K has been institutionalized and awaits legal cover up only. This bitter truth about the sad state of affairs in the state is substantiated by the fact that the highest anti-graft institution State Accountability Commission (SAC) has totally failed to deliver on this account due to the fact that corrupts enjoy political patronage which is obvious from the fact that even after establishing cases of high-end corruption against senior government officials, no punishment has been initiated against any of the accused officials so far. 0ut of the 17 recommended cases, 11 pertain to Jammu region while as three are from Kashmir province. It is worth recalling that the J&K Accountability Commission was constituted with much fanfare under a special Act in 2002 to inquire into grievances and allegations against public functionaries and for matters connected therewith. However, only a minuscule of the cases has been decided and no concrete action has been taken by the government on those few cases too. All the 17 adjudicated cases were registered with the Commission in 2004 to 2005 and decided till 2007. Since the past half-a-decade, none of the cases pending before the Commission has been decided, the available evidence and documents reveal. The awards of the judged cases are either pending with the government or the state High Court has intervened and prevented punishment against these public functionaries. See, for instance, the case of Ghulam Nabi Boda, the then Director, Social Welfare, Kashmir. SAC made recommendations to the government to initiate disciplinary action against the official in 2005 as specified in the J&K Classification Control and Appeals Act. The official approached the High Court and stayed the operation of possible punitive action. Similar is the case with M. Sultan Ganie alias Panditpuri, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Member Legislative Council (MLC). Recommendations were communicated to the Raj Bhavan for action by the Governor in 2007. The politician also managed a stay from the government and thus avoided action. The SAC in 2007 recommended punishment against Sheikh Fayaz Ahmed, the then Deputy Secretary, Estates, and the son of a former Chief Secretary and National Conference leader. The sentence was to be imposed under Rule 30 of J&K Service Rules, but nobody dared to touch the influential son of powerful father. In another case, the “effeminate” Commission in 2006-2007 called for punishment of the then Commissioner Secretary Home, S D Mathur; Shah Anayatullah, Special Secretary Home, and Gopal Sharma, the then Director General of J&K Police. Follow-up action from the competent authority is still awaited in the case. It looks weird that the government either brushes these SAC recommendations under the carpet or steers clear of vacating the stays on these cases, said advocate Shahid Ronga. The lawyer working also as an RTI activist, had filed the application before the Commission through one Syed Muzamil Shah under Right to Information Act in March this year seeking details of various cases that were adjudicated by it.