Early Times talks of horse, Govt talks of hay
DD’s reply to Govt’s irrelevant questions is no clean chit to Mubarak Gul
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
JAMMU, Mar 4: Government today claimed in Legislative Assembly and later at a news conference that Doordarshan had given a “clean chit” to the National Conference MLA, Mubarak Gul, and made it clear that the legislator was not in any manner involved in the matter of the controversial allotment of Rs 18 Lakh project from Kashir Channel in his own name and business group ‘Gulistan Productions’. But the questions designed in order to get the desired replies from Mandi House clearly appears to be part of a bureaucratic exercise to mislead not only the common people but also the Chief Minister on the facts and drag him unnecessarily to defend the indefensible.
Government today provided a letter to Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone with the submission that the same be read out and circulated in Legislative Assembly so as to make it clear that Doordarshan had given its “clean chit” to Mr Mubarak Gul in the matter of the controversial allotment of Rs 18 Lakh DD Kashir project in his own name and production house. Mr Gul, who also happens to be the ruling party’s Chief Whip, referred to the replies received from DD and claimed that his non-involvement and innocence had been proved. It was one of the rarest events of contesting a newspaper report involving an elected legislator on the floor of the House.
In its issues of March 1 and 2, Early Times had reported that the lawmaker had participated in a competition and got the Government contract worth Rs 18 Lakhs allotted in his own name and firm as recently as in October 2009. In a quick reaction to the PDP MLA Pir Mansoor Hussain’s argument that the MLA deserved to be disqualified, Mr Gul had claimed on the floor of the House that it was a “three year old matter” that, according to him, happened during Governor’s rule when he was not existing as an MLA. He had offered to resign if it was proved that he was involved in any such process during his tenure as MLA.
Since Mr Gul also happens to be Chief Minister’s Advisor, holding the status of a Cabinet Minister, CM’s Principal Secretary, Mr Khursheed Ahmed Ganai, sent a letter to Director Doordarshan Kendra Srinagar, Dr Rafeeq Masoodi, asking him to get DD’s official reply to three specific questions. Dr Masoodi had forwarded the letter No: DKS/PA/2010 dated 3-3-2010 to Ms Ananya Banerjee, Senior Director of Programmes (DD Kashir) who in turn certified that DD had “NOT YET” approved the script of Mr Gul’s production “during the current year”. She further stated that no agreement had been drawn and no payment or advance payment had been made to the said production house. Dr Masoodi accordingly informed CM’s Secretariat.
The letter circulated in Assembly and later at a news conference by Chief Minister’s Advisors, Mr Mubarak Gul and Mr Devender Singh Rana made it clear that none of the key facts raised in the ET reports had been taken up with Doordarshan. Even after the news conference, ET is firmly standing by the following key facts on which the stories had been built:-
1. DD Kashir invited applications for empanelment as producers by way of a notification on 30-11-2007 and Mr Gul submitted his application in December 2007 when he was an MLA in his third term.
2. After being empanelled as “Producer”, Mr Gul submitted his project
proposal for his Kashmiri drama serial, titled “Azla Lone” and he gave a personal presentation (interview) before DD’s Evaluation Committee on 23-06-2009 at Mandi House in New Delhi when he was an MLA in his 4th term.
3. Doordarshan sanctioned six episodes of the proposed production
for DD Kashir in the name of Mr Mubarak Gul and his business firm ‘Gulistan Productions’ in October 2009 and issued the letters of allotment to all the selected producers including Mr Gul when he was an MLA and also Advisor to Chief Minister.
All of these facts are unambiguously mentioned in the documents posted on DD’s official website www.ddindia.gov.in/Information/KashirChannel and there is no room for falsifying these hard facts in today’s age of transparency and information technology.
Quoting DD sources, ET had had mentioned that Mr Gul had also reportedly signed a contract with Doordarshan but made it clear that an official confirmation to this effect was still awaited. It had neither mentioned anything about “script approval during the current year” nor claimed that any payment or advance payment had been made to the MLA. It is, thus, clear that the questions to DD have been drafted not only the facts specified by ET but with a design to extort a “clean chit” in favour of the MLA.
As some premier television channels of the country today followed the ET scoop with an addition of their own spice apparently to drag the state’s youngest and cleanest Chief Ministers into the controversy, bureaucracy in Jammu ran into a panic mode. According to an official press release, Mr Gul later refuted the allegations against him at a news conference.
“Refuting the allegations made against him regarding allotment of TV programmes, the Advisor to Chief Minister, Mr. Mubarak Gul today said that he had not entered into any agreement with Parsar Bharti Broadcasting Corporation of India (PBBCI), for production of programmes nor taken any advance payment, as alleged.
“The Advisor was interacting with media persons this afternoon, after this issue was taken up in the Assembly where Speaker, Mr. Mohammad Akbar Lone, read out the report from Parsar Bharti Corporation of India (PBBCI). He was flanked by Political Advisor to the Chief Minister, Mr. Devender Rana.
“Mr. Gul said that his stand has been vindicated by the report obtained by the authorities from PBBCI, Delhi in which it has been categorically stated that “Gulistan Productions” has not signed any agreement nor received any advance payment, as alleged.
“Mr. Gul further said that he had spoken on the floor of the House that the legislators should act with responsibility and verify the factual position of any media report before coming to any conclusion.
“Mr. Rana, who also spoke on the occasion, said that the report has put to an end the speculations, whereby, it was being said that Mr. Gul has entered into agreement with Parsar Bharti Broadcasting Corporation for production of television programme.
“Quoting several Supreme Court rulings, Mr. Rana said that any legislator can enter into business with any private Corporation or Government Corporation. He also referred to the Code of Conduct for legislators and also observed that, Mr. Gul had not committed any violation. Mr. Gul is an upright legislator who has been the Member of legislature for five times, he said.
“Mr. Rana also urged the media to be careful in using word ‘tainted’ against any individual without verifying the facts.