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Saturday, September 22, 2012

CBI raid on DDK Srinagar

·        Record of Shami Shair’s programmes seized

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Sep 21: Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today swung into action while seizing record of the lately removed Head of Programme, Shami Shair, whose whereabouts were not known to the officials.

Authoritative sources revealed to Early Times that a team of officials from CBI’s Jammu office appeared at DDK Srinagar at 0945 hours today and produced an authority letter to Deputy Director General (DDG) Engineering, Aftab Ahmad. The letter made clear that CBI needed to scrutinize record of certain programmes in the wake of reports and a substantive complaint suggesting large-scale irregularities in approving and telecasting these programmes. Payment made and to be made on account of these programmes would also be scrutinized with identification and verification of all payees.

In an hour of the arrival of the CBI team, DDG Aftab Ahmad received another communication by fax from Directorate General of Doordarshan in New Delhi, asking the head of the station to ensure that everybody at the Kendra cooperated with the investigating team and provided to it all facilities and records required during the process. DDK head was also directed in the same communication that a separate room be reserved and provided to the CBI team as long as it was needed for the purpose of carrying out the investigation.

Sources said that DDG Engineering, Aftab Ahmad, and the new Head of Programme and DDP, Qayoom Wadera, accordingly cooperated with the CBI officials and asked subordinate officials to fully cooperate with the team. As requisitioned by the team, records of the flagship programmes, particularly ‘Krishi Darshan’ of the union Ministry of Agriculture, were provided to the CBI. Attached Head of Programme and DDP, Shami Shair, has functioned as Producer of most of the Government of India’s flagship programmes for the last over ten years.

However, most of the records of these programmes were not available. The CBI team was told that Mrs. Shair has retained these records under her own lock and key in a room which was reserved for her as Deputy Director of Programmes at the Kendra. The team learned that Mrs. Shair had engaged a retired producer of the Kendra, namely Ghulam Nabi Dar, for getting the programme produced through a particular cameraman while as an outsider, namely Parveena, used to fill up and carry contracts and details of the payees.

CBI officials went to open the room but found it locked from outside. Sources said that in a while, current Head of Programme, Qayoom Wadera, put another lock and the room was sealed. Sources said that the CBI officials also contacts Gh Nabi Dar by telephone but he maintained that all the records were in Mrs. Shair’s personal custody. Mrs. Shari’s telephones were reportedly switched off continuously and her whereabouts were being traced amid rumours that she had flown to Delhi to seek intervention of some influential politicians and bureaucrats to stall the CBI investigation.

Efforts were being made to contact her husband, namely Malik Mansoor Vellayat, who happens to be an incharge Chief Engineer in the state Power Development Department.

Sources said that the CBI officials were in possession of a detailed complaint which mentioned specific details about the payees of Mrs. Shair’s programmes including tape numbers. There are serious allegations that footage of different segments has been repeated scores of times and fresh payments have been claimed each time.

Large number of Betacam tapes are alleged to have been simply transferred to the modern DVC Pro-50 format and the programme contents claimed to be fresh during the process of payment in collusion with the retired Administrative Office Mr Beg, who also functioned as Drawing and Disbursing Officer (DDO) of the Kendra for several years. He has been placed under suspension by Directorate General of Doordarshan days before his retirement earlier this year.

According to the reports and this particular complaint, most of the payees of Mrs. Shair’s programmes, particularly those of ‘Krishi Darshan’, were her relatives, friends, neighbours and acquaintances.

Sources said that the CBI would carry out a preliminary investigation in view of all reports and complaints of irregularities against senior DDK Srinagar officials, including Dr Rafeeq Masoodi and Shami Shair, and, if established, file necessary FIR and conduct the full investigation.

DD’s Central Vigilance Cell, which functions under Chief Vigilance Officer, has reportedly already established serious charges of corruption and malpractices against Dr Masoodi and the investigation is being assigned to CBI for determination of criminal culpability. Prasar Bharti has already initiated its ‘Departmental Action’ while placing Masoodi under suspension. A two-member team spent days in Srinagar recently to investigate some irregularities and misuse of official position.

However, some of the official sources said that their subject of investigation was appointment of some junior officials against cash payment of Rs 4 lakh to Rs 5 lakh from each. These sources insisted that the official under the fresh scanner was the recently removed Head of Programmes.


How Srinagar DD officials looted exchequer with impunity

·        Hundreds of ‘in-house’ serials approved @ 20% “advance commission”

·        Allottees include dozens of fictitious names

·        Unauthorized liability of Rs 37.53 Cr created in a few months of loot-and-scoot

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Sep 20: With the two-year-long Early Times campaign heading for its logical conclusion and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) launching a fresh exercise to crack the network of corruption, it has now become clear that officials under the headship of Dr Rafeeq Masoodi have created unauthorized liability of Rs 37.53 Crore in a few months at Doordarshan Kendra (DDK) Srinagar. Even as some fiction and musical serials have been approved in the infamous “in-house” category for certain genuine private producers, it has been observed that most of these hundreds of proposed serials have been “approved” for either unknown and fictitious persons or those having no knowledge or legitimate connection with the electronic media.

Well-placed and informed sources disclosed exclusively to Early Times that before his departure from DDK Srinagar, Dr Masoodi had sought “gunny bags of proposals” from a coterie of his subordinate officials and approved them in bulk, mostly in the first six months of year 2011. In July 2011, he was shifted to DD headquarters and replaced as Head of Programme by DDP Shami Shair. All these surreptitiously approved and telecast programme serials were processed allegedly on “advance commission of 20% of the approved budget”. With the exception of some senior private producers, all the beneficiaries are alleged to have paid bribes in lieu of “approval”. Mostly drama and musical serials, these proposals of “private producers” were categorized as the DDK’s own “in-house” productions.

Even as most of the facilities, including studio, sets, make up, transport, cameras, editing suites, graphics, lights and costumes were very much available in DDK’s own stores, payments were processed in the name of “private facility providers”. Names of the “facility providers” were obviously collected from the beneficiary private producers who submitted these proposals through DDK’s regular Producers and got the “approval” from the Head of Programme.

Sources said that inquiries have revealed that not more than 20 of these private producers, who remained all under shadow, were senior and genuine professionals. Only the Kendra’s regular Producer knew as to which serial belonged to which private producer. According to these sources, over 90% of these proposals belonged to unknown persons who gave fictitious names of the payees---in whose name cheques were and would be drawn on account of providing different facilities.

Sources said that hundreds of tapes “even in gunny bags” landed secretly in DDK Srinagar stores. While as many of these programmes were telecast, mostly remained untelecast and a cumulative liability for DD.

It was in just few months that Dr Masoodi and his subordinate Producers created the whopping liability of Rs 37.53 Crore for the key head of Programme Professional Special Services (PPS). There is a particular quarterly ceiling for PPS which the Kendras can not exceed under any circumstances.

Immediately after Dr Masoodi’s transfer, DD headquarters asked about this huge pile of tapes and liabilities. None other than Masoodi’s successor, Shami Shair, communicated to DG Doordarshan, through ADG Venkateshawarlu, under No: DKS/PA-1P-2011 Dated 21-07-2011, that the volume of PPS liability at DDK Srinagar was a whopping Rs 37.53 Cr till 8-7-2011.

According to her official communication, a copy of which is in possession of Early Times, just eleven of DDK Srinagar’s regular Producers have created huge liability of Rs 31 Crore. They include Mrs. Shair herself who had got ‘in-house’ programmes to the tune of Rs 1.04 Cr approved from Dr Masoodi.

Transmission Executive Rajeev Sadhu tops the list. He has created liability of Rs 7.36 Crore. According to Mrs. Shair’s official letter, contracts to the tune of Rs 68,10,000 of Mr Sadhu’s programmes were lying with Accounts Section. Other of his “in-house” programmes to the tune of Rs 1.32 Crore had been approved and telecast, while as programmes worth Rs 5.31 Crore were yet to be telecast and paid.

On this very communication, Mandi House had frozen telecast and payment of all these scandalously made proposals and launched a departmental investigation last year. Most of the people associated with DD have been demanding that this lot of programmes should be fully canceled and the DDK officials booked in criminal matters.

Rasheed Javed, who has recently retired, has created a liability of Rs 4.10 Crore. He is closely followed by Programme Executive Haleema  Parveen who has created liability of Rs 3.82 Crore. Programme Executive Javed Bukhari has created liability of Rs 3.64 Crore, Film Editor Tanveer Hussain Mir Rs 2.73 Crore, Pr Ex Sudesh Bakshi Rs 1.70 Crore, now retired Pr Ex Ghulam Mohiuddin a liability of Rs 1.32 Crore, Cameraman Mushtaq Ahmad Khan Rs 1.24 Crore, Floor Manager Bashir Ahmad Dar Rs 1.13 Crore and DDP Qayoom Wadera, who is new Head of Programmes at DDK Srinagar, has also created liability of Rs 1.17 Crore.

Even as total liability of Rs 1.17 Crore has been shown against the programmes proposed/ produced by Mrs. Shair, some insiders insist that she had concealed liability of over Rs 2 Crore in her communication. Interestingly, maximum of her liability is reported to have been cleared during her tenure of 15 months.


Top liability creators of DDK Srinagar during headship of Dr Rafeeq Masoodi.

S. No
Name of Programme Officer (Producer)
Amount of liability created

Rajeev Sadhu [Transmission Executive]
Rs 7.36 Crore
Rashid Javed [Programme Executive]
Rs 4.10 Crore
Smt Haleema Parveen [Programme Executive]
Rs 3.82 Crore
Javed Bukhari [Programme Executive]
Rs 3.64 Crore
Tanveer Hussain Mir [Film Editor]
Rs 2.73 Crore
Smt Sudesh Bakshi [Programme Executive]
Rs 1.70 Crore
Gh Mohiuddin [Programme Executive] retd.
Rs 1.32 Crore
Mushtaq Ahmad Khan [Cameraman]
Rs 1.24 Crore
Bashir Ahmad Dar [Floor Manager]
Rs 1.13 Crore
Qayoom Wadera [Dy Director Programme]
Rs 1.17 Crore
Smt Shami Shair [Dy Director Programme]
Rs 1.04 Crore
Gh Hassan Dar [Programme Executive] retd.
Rs 1.81 Crore

Rs 6.47 Crore

Total unauthorized liability created
Rs 37.53 Crore

Break-up of the unauthorized financial liability of Rs 37.53 Cr created by various Producers (including Floor Managers, Cameramen, Film Editors and Make-up masters who were given assignment of Pruducer) during headship of Dr Rafeeq Masoodi at Doordarshan Kendra Srinagar in 2009-11.

Name of Programme Officer
Programmes Approved/Untelecast
Amount of total liability created

Smt Shami Shair
Rs 82,56,000
Rs 22,40,000
Rs 1,04,96,000
Syed Zeeshan Fazil
Rs   2,40,000
Rs 53,90,000
Rs    56,30,000
Qayoom Wadera
Rs 1,17,00,000
Rs 1,17,00,000
Javed Bukhari
Rs 62,90,000
Rs 3,01,84,000
Rs 3,64,74,000
Rashid Javed
Rs 2,02,62,000
Rs 2,07,97,000
Rs 4,10,59,000
Smt Haleema Parveen
Rs 1,14,95,000
Rs 2,67,18,000
Rs 3,82,13,000
Nasir Mansoor
Rs 52,11,000
Rs 1,03,90,000
Rs 1,56,01,000
Smt Sudesh Bakshi
Rs 36,74,000
Rs 1,34,00,000
Rs 1,70,74,000
Mufti Riyaz
Rs 68,85,000
Rs 20,50,000
Rs 89,35,000
Gh Mohiuddin
Rs 62,50,000
Rs 70,20,000
Rs 1,32,70,000
Satish Dhar
Rs 68,34,000
Rs 20,80,000
Rs 89,14,000
Rajeev Sadhu
Rs 2,00,92,700
Rs 5,35,31,600
Rs 7,36,24,300
Tanvir Hussain Mir
Rs 1,72,000
Rs 2,71,90,000
Rs 2,73,62,000
Mushtaq Khan
Rs 13,60,000
Rs 1,10,89,000
Rs 1,24,49,000
M Akram Ganai
Rs 7,48,000
Rs 23,41,000
Rs 30,89,000
Bashir Ahmad Dar
Rs 28,25,000
Rs 85,02,000
Rs 1,13,02,000
Gh Jeelani
Rs 23,40,000
Rs 23,40,000
Smt Kousar Parveen
Rs 85,75,000
Rs 85,75,000
Gulrez Qureshi
Rs 23,30,000
Rs 23,30,000
Gh Hassan Dar
Rs 14,00,000
Rs 14,00,000
Gh Hassan Dar
Rs 1,67,15,000 [old morning show ‘Subhai Subhai’]
Rs 1,67,15,000


Rs 88,08,500

Total unauthorised liability created
Rs 37,53,60,800

Friday, September 21, 2012

CBI likely to investigate Srinagar DD bungling

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

Srinagar, Sep 20: In order to restore credibility of the Central institutions in Jammu and Kashmir, country’s premier investigation agency, Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI), is being asked by Government of India to conduct a thorough inquiry into the serious charges of irregularities, corruption and misuse of official position against certain officials who remained posted at Doordarshan Kendra (DDK) Srinagar in the last four years.

Highly placed authoritative sources revealed to Early Times that the Government of India had taken a serious note of investigative reports of this newspaper and other media outlets regarding malpractices and financial irregularities, besides charges of corruption and misuse of official position against some officials who remained posted in Srinagar in the last four years. On the basis of this cognizance, CBI was being directed to conduct a thorough investigation into the reported omissions and commissions of these officials.

Sources said that not satisfied with the relationship of some former officials of CBI’s Srinagar office with two successive heads of DDK Srinagar, the investigation was likely to be assigned to CBI’s Jammu office. One of the senior officials of CBI’s Srinagar office has been lately removed and placed under suspension.

According to these sources, if assigned to CBI, the investigation would remain particularly focused on the alleged frauds committed in the station’s daily morning transmission ‘Good Morning J&K’ and the flagship programmes of Government of India like ‘Krishi Darshan’ on which DDK Srinagar officials have reportedly drawn huge amounts of money and the total expenditure on each programme has been less than 30% of the approved budget.

Sources said that all individual payee’s and so-called facility providers of these two programmes would be got identified in view of serious allegations and complaints that most of the payees were either fictitious persons or relatives, friends, neighbours and acquaintances of the Producer. All transactions of these payees’ bank accounts could be scanned.

Sources said that CBI’s technical resources could be used to know whether the programmes contained fresh DVC Pro-50 segments or the old Betacam footage from already paid and already telecast programmes had been fraudulently used and fresh payments drawn against the same.

Sources said that in addition to this, CBI could also carry out a detailed investigation as to how a former Director of DDK Srinagar had created huge liability of Rs 37 Cr in just few months before his transfer to Directorate General in the first six months of the year 2011 while approving hundreds of proposals of so-called in-house programmes submitted to him by over a dozen producers.

Central Vigilance Cell of Doordrashan is already investigating this scandal and a DDG, namely Dr Rafeeq Masoodi, has been already placed under suspension. An Administrative Officer (AO), who functioned as Drawing and Disbursing Officer (DDO) at DDK Srinagar, has also been placed under suspension days before his retirement from service earlier this year. He is alleged to have released an amount of Rs 50 lakh “out of turn” in favour of the payees given by some private producers besides the payees of the lately removed Director’s programmes. Directorate General of DD had frozen these payments till completion on the departmental inquiry.

According to these sources, CBI sleuths would also investigate charges that at least two of the senior officials of DDK Srinagar had purchased or built numerous residential houses and commercial properties, both in Jammu and Srinagar, out of the “bribe proceeds” they got from a number of private producers on account of approving their “inhouse” serials and musical programmes in the year 2011. One of these officials has reportedly acquired a prime piece of land behind Humhama Police Station, near Srinagar Airport, and got a three-storeyed building constructed through one of her subordinates in 2010-12.  

Same official, according to sources, is also facing charges of misleading the union Ministry of Home Affairs as well as Directorate General of Doordarshan in the matter of getting a 12 episode programme series commissioned in the name of her niece. According to a written complaint with Mandi House, the lady producer is actually a regular government employee posted in J&K State Board of School Education.

According to the complaint, MHA funds worth Rs 24 lakh have been directly deposited into the account of the DDK Srinagar official’s niece who has been “fraudulently shown as Producer of the programme series commissioned by MHA through DD Kashir in 2010-11”.  


Govt gets blasphemous film blocked on Internet

As Geelani, Mufti Azam ask Kashmiris to protest, educational institutions closed for Friday

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

Srinagar, Sep 20: With the separatist hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mufti Azam, Mohammad Bashiruddin, calling upon the Kashmiri Muslims to stage street protests against an American blasphemous film following the afternoon prayers tomorrow, authorities have closed all educational institutions in the Valley on Friday. Meanwhile, after a weeklong stalemate, Government of Jammu and Kashmir has finally succeeded in blocking the controversial movie on Internet.

Authoritative sources disclosed to Early Times that on sustained persuasion of the Omar Abdullah government, the Central telecommunication authorities got almost all the access links of the controversial movie on Google, Yahoo, YouTube and Facebook blocked today. The movie, its video clips or trailers were no more available accessible on the cyberspace in India from this evening.

“This content is not available in your country due to a government removal request”, read a caption invariably on all domains and search engines when the official claim of blocking the video were put to a test this evening. Sources said that the process was complete and in case the Internet Service Providers committed any breach, their operations would be fully blocked. This could obviously affect all email communications from and into India.

‘Threat to internal security’ was stated to be the reason quoted for blocking the links, first time in India since Internet services were introduced in this country in mid-1990s. Sources said that there was a countrywide concern, running parallel to a worldwide concern, over availability of the inflammable movie on Internet. However, the central telecommunication authorities, Ministry of Telecommunication and Ministry of Home Affairs received only one formal request to block the access and that came from the state government in Srinagar.

Official sources said that a team of officials from the state Home Department, J&K Police CID Wing and Department of Information Technology, in coordination with National Informatics Centre (NIC), were monitoring the Internet traffic. “In case of default, YouTube and Facebook could be fully blocked”, said a highly placed official.

In the evening, J&K Government’s Home Departments issued an order that read: “In exercise of the powers conferred U/S 5(2) of the Indian Telegraph Act 1885, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, in the interest of public safety and for maintaining public order, hereby directs that:- (i) All licensed Telecom Service Providers/ Internet Service Providers shall make arrangements to ensure that their subscribers/ customers/ clients in the State of Jammu and Kashmir should not be able to download or upload the contents with regard to film/message/comments/excerpts of the blasphemous video titled “Innocence of Muslims” or by any other name. If necessary, due to technical reasons, the Fully Qualified Domain Names shall be blocked viz, etc., (ii)They shall also ensure that the BULK mails that are being generated from their subscribers/clients do not contain this file/ versions of this file and the content and in case of suspicion/ detection, the same shall be blocked and filtered”.

In view of the separatist hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s fresh call, also separately issued by Mufti Azam, Mufti Bashiruddin, asking Kashmiri Muslims to stage street protests against the blasphemous movie at the end of afternoon prayers tomorrow, state government has declared holiday in all schools, colleges and other educational institutions on Friday. Sources said that Director of School Education and Secretary of Higher Education/ Director Colleges today issued orders of holiday in all educational institutions.

Authorities were said to be apprehensive of turbulence by students in view of the total shutdown witnessed on Geelani’s call in Valley on September 18th. Some incidents of stone pelting and clashes with Police had taken place on that day. A mob had also attacked the official residence of Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand and set on fire a government vehicle parked outside the house on Maulana Azad Road.

Even as Geelani has asked the demonstrators to remain “peaceful” and avoid damaging public properties, Police and civil officials have their own apprehensions in view of the history of such “peaceful demonstrations”. It was during such a demonstration that participants had torched a number of government offices, including headquarters of Crime Branch and IGP Crime’s office at Exhibition Grounds in front of J&K High Court complex in September 2010.

Sources said that senior Police officials took a meeting with DIGs, SSPs and other field officers here this evening and reviewed the security arrangements and other measures to maintain law and order.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

How qualified anchors were eliminated in DDK Srinagar

Nine anchors’ question: Why should ‘Dr Sahiba’ have all the fun?

Early Times Report

SRINAGAR, Sep 19: Not one but full row of the nine qualified anchors were eliminated by Doordarshan Kendra (DDK) Srinagar officials, one after another, to ensure that hundred percent presentation space was grabbed by their favourite female anchor in the daily morning transmission ‘Good Morning J&K’ (GMJK). Some of the aggrieved anchors put up a tough resistance and approached all offices from Chief Minister’s Secretariat in Jammu to Directorate General of Doordarshan in New Delhi but nobody listened to them until the much favoured anchor of DD officials was allegedly caught red-handed while ‘making an obscene act at a public place’ and booked in a criminal matter by Hazratbal Police on September 9th.

According to the details exclusively available with Early Times, DD’s Additional DG, Ashok Jailkhani, and other high ups at Mandi House had made it clear to DDK Srinagar Head of Programmes, Shami Shair, that the morning show would run live from the Kendras of Srinagar, Jammu and Leh. It was decided that three different anchors at the three stations would form a conference and present nine different segments for the viewers in the 60-minute morning show. The programme was aimed at encapsulating life, culture and current affairs of all the three regions of the state.

However, when GMJK started on December 1st, 2011, it was found no different from the previous scandal-marred show of Dr Rafeeq Masoodi, titled “Subhai Subhai”. CBI as well as DD’s own Central Vigilance Cell has observed that Masoodi and his subordinates had scandalously procured nearly 9500 segments of “Subhai Subhai” from six particular private producers. Tapes, that had been smuggled into the station premises in gunny bags and dumped in stores, were seized by CBI. Now a DDG at headquarters, Masoodi has been placed under suspension and investigation is underway into extremely serious charges of corruption and malpractices against him.

With Jammu and Leh being completely missing in the programme and the total control being in the hands of Mrs Shair in Srinagar, three successive Producers of the GMJK moved out while pointing out grave irregularities. Sufi musical segment ‘Vanayo Seer-e-Asraar’ was found to be made on a worn out series, originally shot and edited in the obsolete Betacam format. Later, the plagiaries outstretched to other segments too. Footage from the old Betacam tapes was transferred on the current format (DVC-Pro 50) and all such fraudulent works passed off as fresh DVC Pro-50 productions. Payments were drawn according as both, Programme Executive Coordination and Administrative Officer (AO), were allegedly in the loop.

Even the footage for the familiar ‘Recipe’ segment was derived from the Kendra’s used tapes. Believe it or not, ‘Fitness’ segments were procured from a health club only after its proprietor admitted some senior DDK Srinagar officials as the fitness customers on “complimentary basis”.

On 27 to 28 days a month, none other than the currently tainted anchor’s cousin was booked in beginning song segment. This particular female anchor is said to have had a field day in the last over eight months in selecting guests and talents besides arranging different segments.

“Even an ordinary inquiry will find that almost all the payees of GMJK were the relatives, friends, neighbours or acquaintances of the former Director and her favourite anchor”, said an insider. He disclosed that over 50 freelance producers had decided to move court in case Mandi House, Prasar Bharti and Shastri Bhawan did not assign the investigation to CBI or DD’s Central Vigilance wing immediately.

Well-placed and well-informed sources revealed that initially an acclaimed male anchor, namely Masood Muntazar, was roped in to start the show with a popular female artist, Sanobar. Both performed well but were removed from the show within a few weeks. Masood, who had extensive exposure in DD as well as private television channel Take One TV, was eliminated when he left for Delhi, after seeking permission from Mrs Shair, to make a presentation of his proposal being processed by DD Urdu.

But before Masood and Sanobar were sidelined, both were used to train the favoured female anchor who is currently in news for a negative reason. On 13th, 14th and 15th January, 2012, she was a co-host with Masood. DDK Srinagar records clearly indicate that she hosted the show as the lead anchor without break from January 16th to September 9th, in violation of DG Doordarshan’s order banning booking of casual artists, including casually engaged anchors, for more than seven days a month.

Notwithstanding their acclaim, Masood and Sanobar never came back to the show. Among the most qualified and the most brilliant, a female anchor, who lives in Sonwar area of Srinagar, was occasionally given a chance. Two of the brilliant students of Kashmir University’s PG Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, namely Jamsheed (male) and Safeena (female) proved to be the most competent in presentation of the morning show.

Jamsheed, who has completed his post graduation, was sidelined without assigning a reason thereto. When he desired to know the reason, he was told that he had read out 1988 as “unees sau nawasi” (1989).

Safeena, who is currently in 4th semester of her PG course in journalism, was also taken off the show, unceremoniously. However, she did not take the disgrace lying down. She left no stone unturned to know as to why she had been removed despite the fact that she, Jamsheed and few others had fared exceptionally well in the audition.

In the month of February, when none of Safeena’s letters, e-mails and other forms of representations to DD and Prasar Bharti officials yielded anything, she drove all the way to Jammu and submitted a detailed representation in Chief Minister’s Secretariat. When that too failed to break the ice, she dashed off an application under RTI to DD authorities. Like a minimum of seven identical applications, DD officials ignored it. One of her communications to Additional DG, Ashok Jailkhani, found its way to the office of incharge DDK Srinagar. She formed a committee of three subordinate officials.

“Rather than listening to the applicant (Safeena), they got a brief from Mrs Shair and wrote to Safeena that she had proved to be incompetent to host the show”, revealed a source. She asked back as to how she had turned overnight ‘incompetent’ even after anchoring scores of popular programmes for the same station. Nobody came to her rescue and relief. “There were standing instructions that nobody from the University’s Mass Communication Department should be booked or encouraged as an anchor or private producer. There was definitely an element of insecurity as such people neither brook mediocrity nor comprise quality. They cannot grease palms of petty clerks and illiterate officials”, said the source at DDK Srinagar.

Suddenly, on September 17th, officials under the direction of new Head of Programmes, Qayoom Wadera, called Safeena and restored her dignity by requesting her to host GMJK on September 18th. She came and hosted the show but made it clear to DD authorities that, now on, she would herself abandon the programme and never turn up to participate in any of this station’s programmes.

For eight months, nobody from Srinagar to Mandi House listened to Safeena’s grouse that she had been replaced by none other than the daughter-in-law of Mrs Shair’s sister. Her allegation of “favouritism” and “nepotism” was brushed under the carpet.

Others, who had passed the audition, were also eliminated disgracefully. Few of them were occasionally booked for a couple of days but none of them dared to follow Safeena in expressing and communication complaints and grievances. They included Lubna, Ummat, Sama, Suzanne, and a male anchor, Zahid.

With “all the odd ones out”, Mrs Shair’s favourite ruled the roost in the morning transmission. Even after landing in a matter of ‘obscenity at a public place’ alongwith the ruling National Conference leader and former MLC, Altaf Kaloo, [as alleged in FIR No: 110 of Police Station Nageen] she returned to Srinagar Doordarshan’s morning show and hosted it for full one hour on September 10th.