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Probe in his wheeling-dealings threw up startling revelations, officials on bank employee’s ouster

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Say ‘shady deeds’ of so many other people also under scanner; more such dismissals will follow

Srinagar: With Jammu and Kashmir Bank on Saturday dismissing one of its top employees for being a “threat to the security of the state”, official sources today revealed that the case has been thoroughly investigated by different security and intelligence agencies which has thrown up “startling revelations”.

Sajad Ahmed Bazaz was posted at Internal Communication and Marketing Department at the time of his sacking.

Sources said that the investigations have revealed that his very entry into the J&K Bank in 1990 was “fishy” and was “masterminded by Pakistan ISI” through local contacts.

He was appointed as Cashier-cum-Clerk in 1990 and later promoted in 2004 to head the internal communication of J&K Bank, a public sector entity owned by the J&K Government.

The officials, privy to the investigations said that Bazaz was, in 2004, suddenly and suspiciously to a higher position, but it did not raise any eyebrows because of the then “larger and deeper subversion in the system”.

They said that the investigators, during the process found out that Bazaz was an “embedded asset of the terrorist-separatist networks working on behalf of ISI” and while being a full-time employee of J&K Bank, was also full-timer with a local English daily.

Citing several reports and columns written by Bazaz and published in the newspaper, the investigators found out that almost all of his news stories and columns have been “centered around justifying and glorifying the secessionist-terrorist campaign” in J&K, the officials said.

Citing several excerpts from his write-ups in his weekly columns titled ‘Off The Record’ and ‘What’s Up’ in the leading English daily, the investigating agencies found out that he continued peddling “Pakistani official line” on Kashmir and also questioned the genuineness of counter-terrorist operations of police and security forces, giving an impression as if all the operations against the terrorists have been fake.

“While in the media he was peddling the Pakistani official line, in J&K Bank, he was busy manipulating the system,” the officials said. They said that while investigating the whole process of Bazaz’s elevation from a clerk to that of a gazetted equivalent post of Editor, the investigating agencies found out that rules were bent, and eligibility norms were tweaked and tailored to bring in Bazaz. “Every trick was employed to manipulate the system to ensure that he gets the job his masters in ISI wanted.”

“The subsequent conduct of Bazaz after having been placed in the chair of ‘Editor’ – a position specially created for him in J&K Bank, further shows conspiracy and subversion,” said the officials, adding, “The data pertaining to advertisement money paid from financial year 2015 to 2023 shows that the newspaper, he was working with, has got disproportionately higher and favourable allotment than all others”.

The officials further said that the investigators found that Bazaz was in league with some other newspapers and magazines that were “fully funded by ISI” and he, using his power and position, helped them to whitewash their money.

The officials said that the investigating agencies also found out that Bazaz has been a close associate of Sheikh Mukhtar Ahmad (Sheen Meem Ahmad) and Lateef Bhat, both Hizbul Mujahideen ideologues, presently based in London and Brussels respectively, and continuing to peddle anti-India narrative, and are very important assets of ISI in Europe.

“The evidence shows how several elements of the secessionist-terror ecosystem are connected with each other and working in institutional frameworks that has respectability and their inter-connection in which the common thread passes through Sajad Ahmad Bazaz, sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly,” officials said quoting the investigation report, adding that Bazaz himself “owns and operates as many as 68 accounts” within the J&K Bank alone.

The investigators, as per officials, found strong connections between Bazaz and some other ISI operatives like Shabir Bukhari, Manzoor Hussain Peer, and Shabir Hussain Buch of Srinagar.

“Shabir Buch is a known close associate of Mushtaq Latram, chief of Al-Umar terror outfit and a constituent member of UJC, and a close associate of Masood Azhar, the JeM chief,” the officials said.

They further said that Bazaz’s case is one among hundreds where high-ranking people in government services or the public sector used their positions to further the Pakistan ISI agenda in Jammu and Kashmir

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