Rashid Paul

HC seeks report of probe in controversial job selections in KVIB 

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Srinagar, Apr 05: The J&K High Court Saturday directed the senior government lawyer to produce before it the inquiry report into the controversial appointments in J&K Khadi and Village Industries Board (KVIB) in 2018 following charges of nepotism by the then government headed by Mehbooba Mufti.

Justice A M Magray directed the additional advocate general to “ensure production of enquiry report before the court on the next date of hearing, without any fail.”

The appointment of Syed Aroot Madni, son of Mufti's maternal uncle Sartaj Madni, as an executive officer in the autonomous KVIB in 2018 had led to allegations of nepotism and unfair means by the government.

As the case came up for hearing in the court today, the AAG representing the respondent state, submitted “in identical matters sub-judice before this court, it has already directed the committee constituted by the government to conclude the enquiry on the subject matter and submit the report thereof before the court”.

He further informed that he has learned the enquiry so initiated has been concluded and that the report thereof would be submitted before the court on or before the next date of hearing.

Soon after the controversy on appointment of Aroot Madani erupted in 2018, the then Vice-Chairman KVIB, Peer Mansoor, a close aide of then chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, had claimed that proper recruitment norms were followed in the selection and that the conduct of exams was handed over to a private agency.

Aroot Madni’s selection, however, was questioned by dropped candidates who alleged that rules were flouted to accommodate him.

They held that the selection of candidates for various posts in KVIB was handed over to a private recruitment agency instead of the Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection and Recruitment Board - JKSSRB - which conducts all such exams for non-gazetted posts as per norms.

They also said 15 to 18 candidates were shortlisted for interview to fill in a single post, which they said was against set norm of 3:1 or 5:1 -- with a purpose to “manipulate selection”.

Further, they alleged, 30 marks were kept for the interview and only 60 for the written test. The remaining 10 marks were for work experience.

The JKSSRB and JKPSC generally keep 80 and 20 marks for written and interviews respectively for filling up government vacancies.

Aroot Madni had almost got 75 marks according to the final list.

The KVIB had advertised various posts, including that of executive officer, on October 08, 2016.

The shortlisted candidates appeared in the written test in August 2017, and the interviews were held in the last week of January.

The KVIB had placed an advertisement for 101 posts including executive officer in 2016. Approximately 60,000 applications were entertained for the candidates to write the exams.

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