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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Govt probing ‘Rs 100 Cr assets’ of trade union leader
Taj asks SVO to hold inquiry into ‘disproportionate assets’ of 6 union leaders

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

JAMMU, Mar 9: Days before the state employees started current phase of 5-day strike today, Government has begun a secret investigation into the ‘disproportionate assets’ of a prominent trade union leader whose networth is valued at a whopping Rs 100 Crore. If preliminary findings of an official agency are to be believed, the trade union leader under sharp focus has been spending Rs one Lakh a month on his canine pets alone.

Well-placed sources in the state government revealed to Early Times that immediately after receiving a Police intelligence agency’s report, State Vigilance Organisation (SVO) would be directed to launch a proper investigation into the source of the benami assets and properties of Srinagar-based trade union leader and ascertain his criminal involvement. Preliminary observation of the official agency has indicated existence of assets worth nearly Rs 100 Cr in the name of the trade union leader’s family members, relatives, friends and acquaintances. Sleuths have noticed that the trade union leader has been spending about Rs one Lakh---triple his salary as Storekeeper in Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Department (CAPD) ---every month on his pets alone.

Immovable properties of the trade union leader, according to the official agency, include more than four residential houses in the capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu, a hotel-cum-restaurant near Iqbal Park in Srinagar, partnership with another hotel in Tangmarg, at least one flour mill besides as many as 50 trucks, tippers and Tata Sumo passenger vehicles.

Sources revealed that senior Congress leader and Minister incharge Irrigation and Public Health Engineering (PHE), Choudhary Taj Mohiuddin, had directed SVO to hold a detailed investigation into the “highly disproportionate assets” of six trade union leaders, three each from Kashmir and Jammu, who were basically from PHE Department but also holding senior positions in the state-wide trade unions of the government employees.

Interestingly, almost all the trade union leaders under scanner are holders of inferior positions, like driller and linesman, in PHE Department. Though senior officials in SVO maintained that Minister had simply held out a verbal threat to the PHE trade union leaders and no written orders had reached them till date, officials placed on significant positions insisted that SVO was in the process of assigning the investigation under different sections of Prevention of Corruption Act to SSPs incharge of Central Jammu and Central Kashmir zones.

Even as most of the Ministers in Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s Cabinet have maintained a discreet silence with regard to allegations and reports of “highest ever corruption” in CAPD and PHE, men of consequence in the state government are said to have succeeded in ordering a thorough investigation into the “disproportionate assets” of seven particular trade union leaders.


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