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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mufti Azam backtracks on Fatwa against stone pelting

Jamiatul Mujahideen dares jurist Bashir-ud-din to make his point at a Manazara

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Mar 11: Separatist hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani today avoided to make any fresh comment on stone pelting of the Kashmiri youth on Police and security forces on the streets of Kashmir valley on the occasion of his returning to Srinagar from New Delhi after three months but radical militant outfit Jamiatul Mujahideen alleged that Kashmir’s Mufti Azam (chief jurist) Mufti Bashiruddin had issued his latest Fatwa against stone pelting after receiving money from the Indian Home Minister. Characteristic of him in the past, Mufti has immediately backtracked and claimed that he had not made any of the comments attributed to him.

Immediately after Mufti Azam Mohammad Bashiruddin’s statement, purportedly made before mediapersons in New Delhi yesterday, appeared in today’s newspapers, spokesman of the guerrilla outfit Jamiatul Mujahideen issued a hard-hitting statement against the Valley’s chief jurist. He charged Mufti with issuing his Fatwa against the stone pelting after receiving “cash” from the Indian Home Minister. The spokesman said in his reaction that a many Muftis had been issuing such “un-Islamic orders” in lieu of privileges and other mundane considerations from the governments all over the world.

The spokesman said that getting such Fatwas issued against movements and individuals, including great scholars like Alama Iqbal and Maulana Maudoodi, had been an old trait of the state. “Would you please reveal how much of money have you taken from the Indian Home Minister before issuing this Fatwa ?”, Jamiat’s spokesman Jameel Ahmed asked Mufti Azam. He added that Mufti’s assertion about the stone pelting youth---that they were taking payment for this act---was an unsubstantiated charge and he should prepare himself for receiving its punishment.

While firmly defending and justifying stone pelting, the Jamiat spokesman challenged Mufti Azam to make his point at a Manazara (open debate) which, he suggested, be also attended and monitored by other Islamic scholars and men of high attainment in Islamic jurisprudence. He said that Jamiat’s delegation would soon call on Mufti Azam and invite him formally for an open debate on stone pelting.

Separatist hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani had the ‘distinction’ of being the strongest votary of stone pelting by the Kashmiri youth in the last two years but he had withdrawn his support to such ‘mobocracy’ on the day of an infant getting killed in an anarchical incident in Baramulla last month. On his return to home after staying in New Delhi for three months, Geelani did not react to Mufti Azam’s statement that has stirred a hornet’s nest in the Valley’s radical and pseudo-intellectual camp.

Chairperson of Muslim Khawateen Markaz (a constituent of the Hurriyat faction headed by Geelani), Yasmeen Raja, too issued a hard-hitting statement and alleged that Mufti Azam had issued his Fatwa “only for the appeasement of Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh”. She called the jurist “a Sarkari maulvi”.

In yet another statement issued from New Delhi, Mufti Azam backtracked and sought to make it clear that he had not made any statement on stone pelting as reported by media. He said that a detailed clarification would follow.


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.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Oil dealers, union leaders run CAPD as Akhoon, Samoon reply AQs

Police digs multi-Crore ration scam; heads to roll in CAPD, Revenue departments


SRINAGAR, Mar 8: That the infamous Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Department (CAPD) in Kashmir valley is completely run by a mafia, having ration dealers and trade union leaders hand-in-glove with officials of CAPD and Revenue departments, has become clear as Srinagar Police have seized at least five kersone oil tankers and arrested their drivers and owners while swindling huge quantities of kerosene oil in black-market. Men of extremely high political and bureaucratic clout have been found directly involved in the multi-Crore ration scandal even as Minister, Qamar Ali Akhoon, and Commissioner-Secretary, Asgar Samoon, have been appreciating performance of their subordinate officers while making replies for questions in Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council.

Official sources told Early Times that heads were likely to roll in CAPD and Revenue departments as no less than a Head of the Department and six officers of the rank of Tehsildar, Deputy Director and Assistant Director had been found directly involved in the multi-Crore ration scam that has been in operation in full knowledge of the Government and civil society in Kashmir valley in the last over 20 years. Sources said that Director CAPD, Meraj-ud-din Keno had himself established his participatory involvement by way of initially issuing the allotment letters and later disowning and withdrawing the same. A whole-sale dealer of kersone oil, who runs six different companies in the names of his family members and relatives, has also succeeded in getting the documents manipulated by two Tehsildars.

Sources said that on 05-02-2010, Police Station Shergari, Srinagar, received a specific information that one K-oil tanker bearing registration number JK02W/3935, driven by Mushtaq Ahmad Wani of Munawarabad was being illegally off-loaded at the shops of Mohammad Shafi Darzi and Ghulam Nabi Darzi, sons of Abdul Ahad Darzi, residents of Alochibagh. Case FIR No: 07/2010 under sections 120B, 409,420 RPC, 3/7 Essential Commodities Act, was registered and the investigation of the case was entrusted to a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under the supervision of SP City South, Mohammad Irshad.

During the course of investigation, it became clear that the said tanker had been diverted by whole-sale major, M/S Rafiquee and Co. Relevant documents were seized from the office of the whole-sale dealer. It surfaced during investigation that the tanker seized was from of fleet of 10 kerosene oil tankers, fraudulently dispatched on the same date to various parts of district Baramulla. It was observed that all the 10 tankers had been loaded on a fake allotment issued by Director CAPD under No: 1505-61 Dated. 02-02-2010. During his questioning, Assistant Director CAPD, Baramulla, revealed that Director Meraj-ud-din Keno had issued the allotment in absence of necessary roaster for the month of February for Baramulla district.

It became thus clear that all the 10 tankers had been moved by M/S Rafiquee and Company Srinagar without any authorization /formal orders from the Controlling/Regulating Authority i.e, CAPD Department. Thereupon, remaining tankers, bearing registration numbers JK02W-3935, JK01F-4273, JK02W-3925, JK02W-3975, JK01F-4138, JK04-3504, JK02-3974, JK01F-4147, JK02W-3941 and JK02W-3942 were also followed. Out of nine tankers, seven were found to have off-loaded the kerosene oil at different locations.Tankers numbers.JK02W-3925 and JK01F-4273 were found parked at Tangpora Bye Pass on 13-02-2010.

The vouchers recovered from the drivers of these two tankers revealed that the kerosene oil loaded was meant to be distributed in Tehsil Sopore. As regards the remaining tankers, three of them produced the vouchers carrying a certificate of concerned Tehsildars, to the effect that the said the same were received and unloaded on 06-02-2010, in contradiction with regard to the date because of the drivers of these tankers deposed that they received and unloaded their tankers on 05-02-2010, instead of 06-02-2010.

A secret inquiry was conducted into the matter to know the actual dates of dispatch and delivery of the K-oil tankers in question? Which revealed that the certificates, issued by the concerned Tehsildars were managed by M/S Rafiquee and company Srinagar in a very meticulous way to throw dust in to the eyes of the investigating agency. The truth being this, that the K-oil tankers were lifted on 05-02-2010 from Srinagar and unloaded at different locations mentioned above on 05-02-2010 through two persons namely Abdul Hamid and Firdous Ahmad.

Officials said that Abdul Hamid and Firdous Ahmad had been acting as conduits between retail and whole sale dealers of kerosene oil and the department of CAPD. Both the above mentioned persons have been diverting a large quantity of kerosene oil earlier also, in active connivance with certain employees of the department of CAPD, Retail/outlet dealers & Whole sale Dealers of kerosene oil. In the instant case they have accompanied the drivers of the K-oil tankers who unloaded the kerosene oil at different locations and in this way have been able to save a large quantity of kerosene oil that has been diverted to some unknown destinations for the purpose of black marketing.

It may not be out of place to mention here, that it is the duty of the Assistant Director CAPD Department and the Tehsildar concerned to depute their representatives along with the drivers of K-oil tankers to unload the kerosene oil at different depots according to the roaster, so as to avoid any sort of pilferage of the controlled commodity. But it has been observed that not only in the case of above three K-oil tankers, but also in the case of remaining K-oil tankers, the drivers were directed by the conduits like Abdul Hamid and Firdous Ahmad to unload the K-oil tankers as per their whims and fancies so as to facilitate the black marketing and hoarding of the K-oil.

The above facts have made it amply clear that none of the K-oil tankers in question were lifted or delivered according to the roaster or directions issued by the department of CAPD, which is the controlling and regulating authority. It was also established that the certificates obtained from the concerned Tehsildars with regard to the unloading of K-oil tankers at different locations were maneuvered and managed by the M/S Rafiquee and Co. Srinagar as a cover up to hush up the matter. It was further established that there is a set modus-operandi for the diversion of kerosene oil to be sold in open market for the purpose of black marketing.

Role of Whole Sale Dealers
In connection with the investigation of the case, the Owners of M/S Rafiquee and Co Srinagar, namely Mushtaq Ahmad Rafiquee and Manzoor Ahmad Rafiquee S/O Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Rafiquee were called and questioned by the investigating team. In this connection the manager of Rafiquee and Co Srinagar Tahir Ahmad Shora, casher Mohammad Lateef Malik and peon Mohammad Shafi of M/S Rafiquee and Co Srinagar, were also called and questioned. The previous records of M/S Rafiquee and Co Srinagar pertaining to the procurement and supply of the kerosene oil was also perused.

After questioning and perusal of the record it was found the each whole sale dealer gets a fixed quota of K-oil from Indian Oil Corporation, which is communicated to CAPD Department and CAPD Department in turn communicates the same to the districts. Assistant directors of CAPD of each district issues a roaster/ formal allotment order of kerosene oil in favour of retail outlet Dealer against the no. of consumer’s coupons (Chandees) deposited at the end of the previous month by the retail outlet dealer, (making a mention of the same to whole sale dealer who has to deliver the prescribed quantity of K-oil mentioned in the roaster/ formal allotment order of kerosene oil). On getting a copy of the roaster duly issued by Assistant Director of the CAPD Department each retail outlet dealer is supposed to deposit the proportionate amount of money equivalent to the allotment made in his name @ Rs 9.55 per liter to the whole sale dealer.

Whole sale dealer on receiving the money, dispatches the K-oil tanker to each prescribed location mentioned in the roaster. Each Retail outlet dealer gets the quota equivalent to the submitted consumer coupons ( Chandees) that he submits at the end of the each month to the CAPD Department. Since there are lot of Retail dealers in each district therefore they have made unions (jhattas) headed by one individual. Each district has 1-3 jhattas. The` heads of each Union (Jhatta) remain in constant touch with both whole sale dealers and supply section of the CAPD Department. These union heads in connivance with the employees of CAPD Department and whole sale dealers determine the quantity of kerosene oil to be delivered to the oil depots. It is very astonishing to know, that this is the exclusive prerogative of these heads of the unions/jathaas to fix the quantity of the kerosene oil to be disbursed and not the Assistant Director CAPD Department of the concern district. The same is corroborated by the statements of the drivers of the K-oil tankers, the heads of the unions/jathaas of retail outlet dealers of K-oil as well as the locals whom we have been able to question so far.
Arrangement of Consumer coupons (Chandees)
During the course of investigation, it was observed that the majority of the people of the Kashmir keep their Ration cards with the Retail outlet Dealers (Munshi), do not get the prescribed quantity of kerosene oil regularly. The heads of the unions/ jathaas get these consumer coupons ( Chandees) of kerosene oil from each Retail outlet Dealer ( Munshi) equivalent to their share of kerosene oil, issued by the Assistant Director of the CAPD department of the concerned district. It is further observed that there is no mechanism of supervision on the part of CAPD department to ensure that the card holder (Consumer) whose consumption coupon or chandee has been submitted actually receives the kerosene oil or not.

As mentioned above that the Ration cards of the consumers are lying in the possession of the Retail outlet dealer (Munshi) who manipulate and fraudulently maintains the record every month to receive the quota of kerosene oil from the CAPD department through whole sale dealers. In actual practice they do not disburse the kerosene oil to the majority of consumers and in this way a large quantity of kerosene oil gets diverted to various locations for the purpose of black marketing in open market.

Diversion of kerosene oil
During the course of investigation, it was observed that there are few kerosene oil depots operating in Kashmir valley, adjacent to the major Bus stands. They have built extra storage capacity to dump illegally diverted kerosene oil for the purpose of black marketing. The diverted kerosene oil is dumped in these depots and subsequently sold in the black market from these illegal outlets functioning clandestinely in some major bus stands of the Srinagar city like, Batmaloo, Panthachowk and Fruit Mandi. Likewise such outlets also function in the Bus stands of the major district head quarters of Kashmir valley.

One such kerosene oil depot is owned by one Mohammad Shafi where the K-oil tanker bearing No.JK02W-3935 was seized by P/S Sherghari, where from the investigation of the case started. The said depot has a storage capacity of more than 20,000 liters. Where as the said depot, in one K-oil tanker gets only 3000 liters of kerosene oil monthly against the coupons ( Chandees) of the consumers @Rupees 9.55/Liter Whereas the remaining 9,000.00 Liters of K-oil in a tanker @Rupees 17/Liter that are meant to be sold in open market for the purpose of black marketing. In this regard the statement of one Ghulam Nabi who happens to be the brother of Mohammad Shafi (The owner of the depot in question) was recorded u/s 164 of CRPC who stated, that they get the kerosene oil against coupons (Chandees) @Rs9.55 per liter. where as the surplus K- oil meant for diversion in the open market for the purpose of black marketing is purchased @ Rs 17/Liter and which is ultimately sold in the open market for the purpose of black marketing @ Rs22/Liter some of the illegal outlets of K-oil operating in bus stands were called and questioned and their statements were recorded u/s 161A CPRC, where in the stated, that they get the kerosene oil from kerosene oil depots, two of which are located in Alochibagh one in Bemina and one in Haba Kadal etc.

Role of M/S Rafiquee and Company
During the course of investigation, it came to light that there are 22 registered whole sale dealers of oil companies in Kashmir valley, engaged to distribute the kerosene oil to different destinations. M/S Rafiquee and Company Srinagar is one among them registered in the name of Mushtaq Ahmad Rafiquee and Manzoor Ahmad Rafiquee S/O Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din M/S Rafiquee and Company Srinagar gets the lion’s share as it lonely distributes 25 percent of the total allocated K-oil in Kashmir valley. In the further investigation, the investigation team came to know that besides M/S Rafiquee and Company Srinagar, the above mentioned individuals own five more such companies, they are:-
1. R & Co.
2. RSS
3. ATC
4. Star Service Station
5. Kathua Service Station

In total these five companies and M/S Rafiquee and Company Srinagar the aforementioned individuals (Proprietors) get 50 percent of the total allocated kerosene oil quota in Kashmir valley. Thus it is evident that M/S Rafiquee and Company Srinagar has monopolized the kerosene oil distribution market. The proprietors of these six companies mentioned, above get a fixed share in respect of each diverted K-oil tanker, irrespective of the outlet or depot where the kerosene oil is black marketed…… They manage and maneuver the relevant papers accordingly by greasing the palms of the people at the helm of affairs. During the investigation, the investigating team came to know about petrol Pump functioning in the name and style of Star service station, which is owned and illegally run by the above mentioned individuals.

The said petrol pump is being run without any permit/authorization from the designated authority. On the perusal of the available records and as communicated by the Senior Manager Indian oil corporation vide his letter No. SSA/INQ Dated18-02-2010, it is established, that no oil company supplies diesel/Petrol to the said petrol Pump. Further investigation has revealed that a substantial quantity of kerosene oil, diverted from Rural Kashmir for the purpose of black marketing is dumped, and is sold illegally from this so called petrol pump.

After ascertaining the illegality of the said petrol pump, this office has accordingly intimated Deputy Commissioner Srinagar. On account of the investigation conducted in case FIR No. 7/2010 U/S120-B RPC 407,409,420 RPC and 3/7E.C (Amnd) Act. Of Police Station Sheer Garhi Srinagar, by Special Investigation Team South Srinagar, with regard to the pilferage and black marketing of K-oil in Kashmir Division, the Criminal labiality, is established prima facie against 15 persons. Police has arrested 8 persons in the instant case so far, they are:-

Tahir Ahmad Shoora (Manager Rafiquee & Co.) S/o Ali Mohammad Shoora, R/O Bemina Srinagar.
Mohammad Shafi Bhat (Peon Rafiquee & Co) S/O Abdul Aziz Bhat R/O Pampore.
Mohammad Shafi Darzi S/O Ghulam Nabi Darzi R/O Alochibagh Srinagar (Dealer)
Driver Tanker No. JK02W-3935 Mushtaq Ahmad Wani S/O Mohammad Ashiq Wani R/O Munnarabad Srinagar
Driver Tanker No. JK01F-4273 Shabir Ahmad Bhat S/O Ghulam Mohammad R/O Srund Kulgam
Driver Tanker No. JK02W-3925 Hilal Ahmad Sheikh S/O Abdul Ahad Sheikh R/O Rainawari Srinagar
Driver Tanker No. JK01F-4138 Mubarak Ahmad Bhat S/O Gull Mohammad Bhat R/O Srund, Kulgam
Driver Tanker No. JK02-3974Abdul Rehman Khan S/O Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Khan R/O Kralpora Budgam
The case shall be challaned in the court of law for the juridical determination very shortly. Further investigation pertaining to the role of employees of CAPD Department in the pilferage and black marketing of K-oil in Kashmir Division is going on.


Advisor [R] solves FM’s problem of enhancing MLAs’ salaries
MLAs, MLCs declared eligible for taking contracts from Govt corporations

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

JAMMU, Mar 5: While giving his own clean chit to National Conference colleague, MLA and Chief Minister’s Advisor, Mr Mubarak Gul, in the matter of taking a work contract from Doordarshan, Chief Minister’s Political Advisor Mr Devender Singh Rana has relieved Finance Minister Abdul Rahim of a great anxiety days before producing the new financial year’s budget in the state Assembly. Even after Cabinet approval to a draft bill earlier this week, Mr Rather was reportedly in stress over the issue of hiking the monthly salaries of the legislators. With his statement that MLAs and MLCs were “not barred by law from doing trade and business with Government corporation”, Mr Rana has facilitated the way of allotting contracts of all state government corporations to MLAs and MLCs---first time in the history of democratic India.

Claiming to be quoting “Supreme Court judgments” and opinion of prominent lawyers of the country, Mr Rana had made it clear at his Thursday news conference that MLAs and MLAcs were not barred by code of conduct or any other law from taking contracts from “private and government corporations”. According to him, there would have been nothing wrong in MLA Mubarak Gul’s act of taken a work contract from Doordarshan. He pointed out that DD was not part of the Government and asserted that it was an organization of Prasar Bharti Broadcasting Corporation of India.

Mr Rana’s ruling on the eligibility of all MLAs and MLCs in taking contracts with “Government corporations” has been exuberantly appreciated not only by the MLA in the dock but also all ruling and opposition legislators in the state. Sources today said that a large number of MLAs and MLCs today expressed their gratitude to Mr Rana for his historic judgment and also communicated to Finance Minister that they would no more insist on increasing their salaries.

Sources said that all MLAs and MLCs of the NC-Congress coalition, including Ministers, would be soon meeting Chief Minister Omar Abdullah with the demand that at least 80 percent of the contracts in Government corporations, particularly J&K State Power Development Corporation, J&K State Road Transport Corporation, J&K Cements Ltd, J&K Industries Ltd, J&K State Forest Corporation, J&K State Agro Industries Development Corporation and J&K State Tourist Development Corporation besides all Universities in J&K, both shrine boards and SKIMS Srinagar, should be reserved for them. Some of them have already approached Minister of Works, G M Saroori, with a similar demand in J&K Projects Construction Corporation but he has made it clear to them that JKPCC was actually itself a contractor of projects and it would require nothing but building material like bajri, sand and bricks.

Sources said that a group of MLAs and MLCs have also met Forest Minister, Mian Altaf Ahmed, and told him in plain terms that after Mr Rana’s eye-opening judgment they would not allow him to leave a single contract of extraction and carriage for non-VIP jungle thieves. According ton these sources, Mian Altaf asserted to the delegation that cameras must have “wrongly recorded” Mr Rana but they sweared that he had made the statement when two of their MLA colleagues were also present at the press conference.

Sources said that taking advantage of today’s off-day in Assembly, most of the MLAs and MLCs directed Chief Engineers to revalidate their contracts “within 24 hours” so that they could participate in filing of tenders with several Government corporation. Minister of Industries, Surjit Singh Salathia, has been approached by 15 MLAs and MLCs with the request that SICOP’s Managing Director be directed by way of a written order in the light of Mr Rana’s ruling that 80 percent of the supply orders be reserved for the honourable legislators. He pleaded that these orders actually come from Government departments to his SICOP but the MLAs argued that they would be drawing the contracts with a “Government Corporation” (SICOP) not any Government department.

Sources said that at least three of Srinagar-based MLAs have made telephonic calls to Director SKIMS, Dr Abdul Hamid Zargar, and Vice Chancellor of University of Kashmir, Prof Riyaz Punjabi, and conveyed their intention of taking at least 50 percent of the work orders as well as supply orders in the next financial year. After seeking opinion on the matter from Head of Department of Law, Prof Punjabi is said to have argued with Section 24-C of J&K Peoples Representation Act of 1957, that all MLAs and MLCs were barred and were liable to disqualification as members of legislature “if, and for so long as there subsists a contract entered into by him in the course of his trade or business with the Government for the supply of goods to, or for the execution of any works undertaken by the Government” but the honourables MLAs argued that he should refer to the Act of 2010 not the only wrongly in force since 1957.

Sources said that on watching this enthusiasm among the ruling coalition legislators, a group of Opposition MLAs led by former contractor Abdul Rehman Veeri have conveyed to the Government that it should reserve a particular quota to Opposition MLAs or face consequences during the Budget session itself.

Irrelevant questions from CM’s Secretariat to Dooradrshan

Question Reply

a. Whether the Doordarshan has approved Not yet
The script of any episode or Gulistan
Productions/ Shri Mubarak Gul during
The current year

b. Whether any agreement has been Question does not arise
drawn by the said Productions House; as (a) not yet done.

c. Whether any payment/advancement Question does not arise
payment has been received ay the said as (a) not yet done.
Production House.

Questions that were not asked to Dooradrshan

1. Whether it is a fact that Mr Mubarak Gul, Proprietor ‘Gulistan Productions’ applied for empanelment as private producer in December 2007 in response to notification dated 30-11-2007.

2. Whether Mr Mubarak Gul was empanelled as a private producer for his business firm ‘Gulistan Productions’, subsequently invited to submit his proposal for the project in 2009.

3. Whether Mr Mubarak Gul appeared before DD’s committee of officials with presentation of his project on 23-06-2009.

4. Whether Mr Mubarak Gul’s programme titled ‘Azla Lone’ was sanctioned and letter of allotment issued to him from DD Kashir in October 2009.
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 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.