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Governor’s Bank appointment disclosure jolts state

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PDP demands probe; Omar hits out at BJP, PDP over ‘favouritism’

Srinagar: After Governor Satya Pal Malik blew off the lid over the political meddling in recent recruitments in the J&K Bank, political circles in the state remained agog with hectic activity Sunday with some coming out in defence of these appointments and others demanding a thorough probe to unmask the frauds and favours if any.

In an interview with ‘Times Now’ news channel aired yesterday evening, Governor Malik made some startling revelations including about the recent recruitments in the J&K Bank, as also about a youth landing a lucrative administrative job without appearing in any examinations for the same.

He also revealed that some top persons had misled him and made him to sign the Government employees insurance with Reliance General Insurance which later on he had rolled back after detecting some frauds in it.

In an interview with Times Now, the Governor said 40 youth approached him saying they had cleared all examinations and figured in the selection list of Jammu and Kashmir Bank but were replaced by relatives and workers of political parties.

“I called the Jammu and Kashmir Bank chairman. He told me that the number was not 40 but 582 youths recruited by the Bank had been replaced with the political appointees, recommended by the leaders from every constituency. I asked the Bank chairman to give the youth their due. I also called the Finance Secretary and finally a resolution was adopted and all 582 candidates have been given appointment letters,” he said, adding if such a justice is done with the youth, there will be no stone pelters.

“The youth were in dark…they were dejected. As there was none to help them,” he said.

When interrupted by the interviewer that the BJP was also partner with the PDP in J&K government when such glaring irregularities took place, Malik said it was for the BJP to reply to the allegations. He didn’t name any political party.

Raising serious question mark over functioning of the J&K Public Service Commission, Malik said that a youth was selected for the KAS without appearing for the examination.

“Youth with terrorist background were recruited. Some of the recruited teachers were preaching fundamentalism in the schools,” he said, adding there were instances that “government officials were found pelting stones while returning home from offices and taking Rs 500 from the separatists.”

Referring to employees insurance with Reliance General Insurance, the Governor without naming his Advisors or senior bureaucrats, said within four to five days of his takeover in August, they came to him and briefed him that the policy has been well-drafted and studied and was required to be implemented for benefit of employees and pensioners.

“I gave go ahead but when government employees and others started raising fingers over the policy, I had a detailed and fresh look at it and found discrepancies. I ordered scrapping of the contract,” he said, adding he knows who got what (in the scam), who is behind this (the insurance scam). “But, I will act when the inquiry is completed.”

He disclosed that he has asked for the probe to be completed within two months.

“I will tell the Vigilance people to stop all their work to complete the inquiry. I’m going to lodge even criminal case against those found guilty,” he said and assured that no big fish will go scot-free.

“All those found guilty will be punished.”

Meanwhile, rattled by the disclosures of Governor Satya Pal Malik about the political favouritism in appointments to J&K Bank, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday said Governor’s frequent remarks end up “defaming Kashmiris” and vital institutions of the state and “for him every Kashmiri is a thief”.

“It is regrettable that the Governor should go to every channel and every newspaper about whatever he hears in the discharge of his duty, and apparently without verifying facts he is making general comments,” senior PDP leader and former minister Naeem Akhtar said in a statement today.

“It is very unfortunate that he is grudging the people of Kashmir even having a house. Going by his statements, it comes out that anybody who is owning a big or a small house in Kashmir has to be dishonest,” Akhtar said.

He said the system would demand that rather than making sweeping statements about entire population of Kashmir, “if there is a list of such suspects, action is initiated against them, inquiry is held and those people are made to face law.”

Reacting to the allegations of corruption leveled by Governor Malik in his recent statements, Akhtar said that Governor can ask his accountability organisations to take action against those involved rather than going to the press on this issue.

“It would be advisable for the Governor to first ask his accountability apparatus to take action and establish guilt before going to the media,” the PDP leader said.

Over the Reliance Insurance scam and its subsequent scrapping, Akhtar said that the Governor had himself admitted that he was misled into approving the project involving Rs 30,000 crore. “If that is so then the people of the state are clearly living in unsafe times and it becomes obvious that his predecessors in governance have been more resistant to such mischief by the officers.”

Akhtar said that the undeniable fact remains that the insurance plan has been approved by this administration itself and its scarping only established that a wrong has been done.

“Mere scrapping of the decision doesn’t wash off the initial action which is now termed as full of frauds by the Governor himself. The fraud has been detected only after the employees were made to pay first installment forcibly and some payment has been advanced to the company,” Akhtar said.

He added that it is suggested that Governor Malik, who appears to be a well-meaning person, verifies facts before going to the media because anything that comes from him is taken very seriously.

“He is not to spread things that have been part of gossip or insidious whispers, but people expect action from him. He should not be prejudging things -- that is something to be left to the court of law,” said Akhtar.

The PDP leader further said that by now the Governor should have realised that he is holding the most important and sensitive job in the country and he should not be contributing to instability in the state and erosion of systems whatever is left of them.

“There is a campaign at the national level to defame Kashmiris because of the suspicion of their loyalties to the country. But unfortunately the present Governor has not been addressing that crisis, instead his comments have most often resulted in further defaming the people of Kashmir,” Akhtar added.

Commenting over Governor’s remarks on state’s Public Service Commission, Akhtar said it is unfortunate that such a vital institution of the state has been brought into disrepute.

“Governor should not be echoing a particular grouse and presenting it as truth. There is no scope of discrimination in the system, and for verification, Governor may get list of KAS and KPS officers and see for himself which is the community or the region that has been discriminated against,” Akhtar said, adding that “we feel that it is purely on the basis of merit that people have got into the civil services.”

Akhtar also said that “the undeniable reality remains that Governor Satya Pal Malik presided over the most farcical election in the state which have been fought purely through the use of money even for inducing people to file nominations and voting.

“Every vote was purchased and that is the matter of common knowledge that every vote that was cast of the 40 thousand odd votes was purchased and sold. And that is how the government of India and some political parties have introduced corruption at the grass-roots as a state policy to divert attention from political realities,” he added.

Akhtar said the Governor needs to go through the 70-year-old relationship between the State and the Centre and a serious study would inform him that ever-since the first government of Sheikh Abdullah was unconstitutionally dismissed, Government of India “used bribery in one form or the other to set up a political setup of its liking either through subsides or by allowing the loot of state resources by a chosen few.

“That trend was halted to a great extent following the 2002 elections, but it is again being revived through use of money, political baits and arm-twisting,” he said.

The PDP leader added that inspite of that there is a vast majority of civil servants and politicians who have resisted the temptations and who have been working according to their conscience and law of the land.

Meanwhile, former chief minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for a 'scam' in bank recruitments in their previous government.

“More skeletons fall out of the cupboard – PDP-BJP changed entire select list of J&K Bank to appoint favourites: Guv,” Omar wrote on Twitter.

Omar’s reaction came after the State Governor Satya Pal Malik made a sensational disclosure that the politicians in BJP-PDP government got the entire selection list of selected candidates changed “to adjust their relatives and workers”.

In an interview with ‘Times Now’, the Governor said 40 youth approached him with the claim they had cleared all examinations and figured in the selection list of Jammu and Kashmir Bank but were replaced by relatives and workers of political parties.

“I called the Jammu and Kashmir Bank Chairman. He told me that the number was not 40 but all 582 youths recruited by the Bank had been replaced with the political appointees, recommended by the leaders from every constituency. I asked the Bank Chairman to give the youth their due. I also called the Finance Secretary and finally a resolution was adopted and all 582 candidates have been given appointment letters,” Governor said.

The dropped candidates, he said, were given selection letters following his intervention.

Guv didn’t name any political party: Govt

Jammu, Oct 28: The State government on Sunday denied a report that appeared in a Jammu based English daily today in connection with an interview given by the Governor Satya Pal Malik, to a leading Delhi-based news channel yesterday.

In a statement issued today, an official spokesperson clarified that the Governor during his interview with the news channel did not name any political party in the context of appointments recently made by the Jammu & Kashmir Bank.

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