Three Ministers in SAC’s dock over fresh charges of corruption, raising huge assets
CS asked to provide details of all politicians enjoying status of Minister/MoS by September 28
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
Resuming its functioning after suspended animation of over three years, SAC has entertained complaints against both the Ministers and forwarded the same to them for their respective comments. One of them, according to informed sources, has returned the document with a detailed response in defence. Commission is now examining the Minister’s response in light of the complaints and awaiting a statement from another respondent. The complainants have sought action against the two Ministers while being knowledgeable that they would be liable to punishment under the law in case their accusations against the public men proved to be motivated or unfounded.
SAC has initiated action over the complaints without publicly revealing identities and specific contents as desired by the amended law in anticipation of commencement of a regular inquiry.
Early Times, however, learned from authoritative sources that all the three complaints against the coalition functionaries have been taken seriously by the lately revived SAC. On the direction of Chairman, Justice (retd) Y P Nargotra, and Member, Justice (retd) Hakeem Imtiyaz Hussain, Registrar of SAC today sent a letter to Chief Secretary Madhav Lal, asking for names of the politicians holding status of Minister or MoS, emoluments, perks and other facilities available to them, rules and regulations governing appointment of such government functionaries besides procedure and criteria, if any, adopted for conferment of status of Minister/MoS on the politicians who are not otherwise members of the Council of Ministers.
Chief Secretary has been directed to furnish complete information by or before September 28th.
Dealing with the third fresh complaint, concerning a politician who has been holding status of a Minister, SAC is understood to be obtaining details about all the eight politicians of the NC-Congress coalition government enjoying this privilege. There are currently 22 members in Omar Abdullah’s Council of Ministers who are all on oath. Two slots, each belonging to NC and Congress in the power sharing arrangement, have been continuously vacant since 2009.
Congress party’s MLA from Inderwal and high profile Minister of Works, Ghulam Mohammad Saroori, had been removed in the middle of last year when CBI began investigating charges of his daughter having hired an outsider for appearing in a competitive examination to ensure her selection for MBBS. Anticipating clean chit to Saroori---that could lead to his re-induction---Congress has not insisted over replacement in the last one year.
Under a law amended during Ghulam Nabi Azad’s regime, total strength of the Council of Ministers has to be 25 in
. However, Omar government has conferred status of Minister/MoS on as many as eight politicians. NC’s MLA from Iddgah, Mubarak Gul, is the only among eight who is holding the superior status of a cabinet Minister since August 2009. He stands designated as “Advisor to Chief Minister”. Jammu and Kashmir
NC’s MLC from
, Devinder Singh Rana, who was appointed as “Political Advisor to Chief Minister” a day after Omar Abdullah assumed office on January 5th, 2009, has been holding the status of a Minister of State. Jammu
Making amendments in law, Omar government also deleted few other positions from the list of Office of Profit to protect its legislators from disqualification. Senior Congress leader and former MLA/MLC, Khem Lata Wakhloo, who functioned as a Cabinet Minister in Ghulam Mohammad Shah’s government in 1984-86, was appointed as
Social Welfare Advisory on 28-10-2010. Order of her appointment did not mention her status but bureaucratic sources insist that she was offered status of MoS which she declined to accept. She has been struggling to seek status of a Cabinet Minister with the plea that she had functioned as a Cabinet Minister in 1984-86 and is not working under any other authority, unlike several Vice Chairpersons of statutory boards. Chairperson J&K State
NC’s MLA from Habbakadal, Shameema Firdaus, was appointed as Chaiperson of J&K State Women’s Commission on 19-01-2010. She too has been holding status of MoS.
NC’s former MLA from Surankote and one-time MoS in Dr Farooq Abdullah’s government in 1996-2002, Mushtaq Ahmad Shah Bukhari was appointed Vice Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir State Advisory Board for Welfare and Development of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) on 19-01-2010. He too enjoys status of MoS.
NC’s incumbent MLA from Kalakote, Rachhpal Singh, was appointed as Vice Chairman of J&K State Advisory Board for the Development of Kissans on 19-01-2010. He too was conferred status of MoS.
Congress party’s Smt Swaran Lata was appointed as Vice Chairperson, J&K State Advisory Board for Welfare and Development of Schedule Castes on 10-02-2010. Same party’s Kuldeep Raj was appointed as
Advisory Board for Welfare and Development of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) on 15-02-2011. Neither of them is a member of J&K Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council. Both are holding status of MoS. Vice Chairman Jammu and Kashmir State
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah himself has been functioning as Chairman of the Boards operated by Mushtaq Bukhari, Rachhpal Singh, Swaran Lata and Kuldeep Raj.