Governor Returns Govt Nominations

Governor Returns Govt Nominations

20 June 2012
Greater Kashmir
Javaid Malik

Srinagar: In a significant development, Governor NN Vohra has returned the official nominations for the coveted positions of the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) and two Vigilance Commissioners putting the Jammu and Kashmir government in a discomforting situation on the constitution of the maiden State Vigilance Commission (SVC). Confirming that the file was returned by the Governor, highly placed official sources told Greater Kashmir that the “queries and clarifications sought by the Governor would be replied in due course of time.” The sources, however, declined to elaborate on the issue. Meanwhile, according to Raj Bhavan sources, the nominations were returned by the Governor almost a week back while the state government confirmed it today only. Following a ‘disputatious’ meeting of the SVC selection panel here on May 28, the government had recommended the name of former Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda for appointment as CVC while the names of former Financial Commissioner, RK Jerath and former Secretary to government Muhammad Sayeed Khan were recommended for appointment as two Commissioners. An IPS officer of 1974 batch, Khoda, retired from service on May 31, while Jerath retired as Financial Commissioner on April 30 and Khan retired as Secretary GAD on January 31 this year. The Governor, according to sources, has sought clarification on the charges of alleged involvement of Khoda in a case related to a fake encounter in Doda district. The Governor, sources said, has mentioned that the nomination of Khoda was made by the selection panel prior to his exoneration by the High Court. The Governor, according to sources, has also quoted Supreme Court judgment wherein it has been made clear that the Governor or President is not bound to act on the official communication with regard to the appointment of Lokayukta and Chief Vigilance Commissioner. Pertinently, opposition leader and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, who is a member of the selection panel headed by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, had expressed her dissent over the nominations made by the coalition government. The selection panel meet was attended by Deputy Chief Minister, Tara Chand and Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Sagar. Briefing reporters after the meeting, Sagar had said that panel of six persons each for CVC and VCs was deliberated upon in the meeting. “However, there was no consensus on the name of CVC as the same was not agreed to by the leader of opposition,” he had said. However, notwithstanding Mehbooba’s disagreement,the government had forwarded the nominations of Khoda, Jerath and Khan to the state Governor on June 3 for his approval. Mehbooba, according to sources, had communicated to the Governor her reservations over the official nominations. Mehbooba, according to sources, saw to it that her dissenting note - raising serious objections on the appointment of Khoda as CVC - was included in the file sent to the Governor by the state government. She had raised the issues of Khoda's alleged involvement in a triple murder, the cover up of National Conference leader Syed Yusuf's death in police custody, the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association scam, and the killing of 200 youth between 2008 and 2010 during his tenure as Director General of J&K Police. PDP chief had suggested the names of former ADGP Ashok Bhan and former Financial Commissioner, Samuel Verghese for the post of CVC. As per the State Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Act, the CVC and two VC’s are to be appointed by Governor on the recommendations of selection panel. Pertinently, Vohra had returned the nomination of Justices Y P Nargotra and Bashir Ahmad Kirmani as members of the State Accountability Commission in 2009 as PDP president was not present in the meeting that had recommended their names.