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Govt cancels 101 appointments made in KVIB in 2016

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Guv Admin starts cleansing operation…

Srinagar, Jul 06: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday ordered cancellation of 101 appointments made in the Khadi and Village Industries Board (KVIB) in 2016 during then PDP-BJP rule.

"The Governor administration has cancelled the selection of candidates for 101 posts made in 2016 in KVIB during the PDP and BJP coalition government after a report was submitted by the inquiry committee which probed the issue of illegal appointments," an official said.

"All the selections made in the KVIB pursuant to advertisement notice number KVIB/01 of 2016 dated 08.10.2016 are quashed/cancelled."

"The KVIB will provide an opportunity of being heard to all candidates appointed to different category of posts pursuant to the advertisement notice dated 08.10.2016 and fulfill all formalities required under law before cancelling the appointment of these candidates," read an order issued by the Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Navin Choudhary.

The KVIB appointments in 2016 during the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition government invited much criticism after one Syed Aroot Madani, son of Sartaj Madani, then vice-president of the ruling PDP, and cousin of then chief minister Mehbooba Mufti appeared among the selected candidates for the post of Executive Officer.

A probe committee constituted by the government found that selections made by KVIB in 2016 had been made by flouting set systems and procedures specified for such appointments.

Pertinently, many candidates had alleged nepotism and filed RTIs seeking details of the marks they had obtained and also of those who were selected.

The surfacing of an official letter written to CID by then Law Secretary Abdul Majid Bhat, who was also controller of the KVIB recruitment exam, had also pointed to discrepancies.

The KVIB had issued a notification in October 2016, seeking applications for various posts including Executive Officer, Assistant Executive Officer, Publicity Officer, and Field Publicity Officer for the department.

According to sources, the selection process wasn't given to established recruitment boards which include J&K State Service Selection Board; instead a private agency named LME&S Pvt Ltd conducted the written exams.

However, the interview was conducted by the Industries department, which heads the KVIB. The interview panel was chaired by then Law Secretary Abdul Majid Bhat.

The Law Secretary himself had found some discrepancy in the process and hence wrote to the CID.

At the time of these appointments, PDP general secretary Peerzada Mansoor Hussain headed KVIB as vice-chairman while the BJP legislator Chandra Prakash Ganga headed Industries department as minister.

The inquiry committee, which was led by then Home Secretary R K Goel, in its report submitted to the government said that extensive efforts were made to ascertain facts relating to the entire recruitment process, which became a subject matter of high level inquiry.

“The committee is of the considered view that the entire process suffers from various deficiencies/flaws as brought out in chapters-III, IV and V. The committee, therefore, recommends that the entire process be quashed and initiated de.novo, after following the due procedure.”

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