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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

YesMinister, Early Times has no credibility!

The magic of making millions onsalary of Rs 40,000 a month

JAMMU, Feb 26: “agar miani dasi aayi kaanh beqlaazi, khattamuaf karizem” (Forgive my lord please, if I have erred”  was the stanza every individual in thenProgressive Movement, and beyond, mugged up from Rehman Rahi’s classical “MuafiNaama”. Sher-e-Kashmir’s National Conference conveniently dismissed Rahi as afrustrated Bakra (follower of Mirwaiz dynasty) and trashed his ode of satire.The tradition of intolerance in NC remains unchanged nearly 60 yearslater---‘if you are not with me, you are against me’!

On Saturday last, PDP’s Plato did not carry ET alone to support and substantiate his chargesheet ofcorruption against the Navratans of Mr Clean. He did equally heavily rest onthe Srinagardaily the Minister wouldn’t dream to denigrate. ‘The newspaper you are quotingis devoid of any credibility” decreed the Minister to silence the Plato.

Not a single press releasefrom the NC spokesman in the last over a decade is without extolling theparty’s achievement of giving “freedom to press platform”. No less a personthan Chairman of Press Council of India has now brought into question theNC-led coalition’s intolerance to the fourth estate. The temple of democracy insession deserves to know what precisely has irked the Minister.

Men of stature in thecoalition insist that the ‘honourable minister’ got exasperated when ET choseto be critical of his midnight press conference, held only to denigrate CRPF as“an unbridled force”. ET’s apprehensions came true when CRPF lost its morale ata crucial juncture in 2010 and soon the Valley’s 13-year-olds began frisking passengers if any one of them was from ‘Ponda Police’---a derogatory termcoined by Police-protected separatist leaders to shatter the state police.Fatal casualties were less than 10 when the Minister bowled his full-toss. Soonthe number spiraled to 110 in a geometrical progression.

Church Lane in the summer capital frowned but did not contradictwhen ET made a cursory reference to brazen corruption and wanton irregularitieswitnessed in Srinagar Municipal Corporation in ‘selling’ building permissionsduring the stewardship of Mr Haq Nawaz. Without digging deep, the ET storyrestricted to the shopping malls and other commercial complexes coming upwithout an iota of regard for Master Plan and even without a provision forparking in the crowded Srinagaruptown. Feathers in the Church  Lane ruffled on a passing reference to a palatialhouse being raised on a piece of notified land, just outside the first entrypoint of Srinagar Airport.

Rs 10 Crore palace,splashing on the slopes of Humhama Karewa, actually belonged to the ‘Father ofthe City’ and his father who on Saturday shouted on PDP’s Plato to flush ET downthe toilet. The Minister’s whispering into the ears of Mr Clean continuedinspite of the fact that ET did not reveal in detail how the Mayor put theCommissioner under pressure to issue permission of former’s house in relaxationof all norms of propriety and moral binding. It did not even reveal how thepoor politician, who earned livelihood out of petty R&B works and a tipperin Jammu in1996, rose to become owner of this Rs 10 Cr property overnight. ET did neitherask how same politicians had raised not one but two palatial houses worth Rs 6Crore at Roop Nagar and Sidhra in Jammuin six-year tenure as a Minister in 1996-2002. It did not either unwrap howcontractors were subjected to extortion to raise a corpus for the foodprocessing business the Minister’s son-in-law. Not a question even on the factof this non-government gentleman getting a Ministerial accommodation at TulsiBagh in Dr Abdullah’s regime.

ET did not reveal how BOCAhad issued the permission without a mandatory NOC from the Revenue authoritiesin Budgam. It was, in fact, a matter of investigation either for StateVigilance Organisation for J&K Accountability Commission to know how theNOC, if any, had been issued by DC Budgam for the structure proposed on a pieceof notified land. Even today, owners of all adjacent premises are being deniedNOC on the plea that the land stood notified and private houses and businesseswould not be permitted so close to the hypersensitive Srinagar Airportand IAF base.

ET did neither investigatenor report when responsible citizens, including men in the government, broughtto its notice that the same Minister was on a buying spree and had acquiredover 50 Kanals of land at different spots on either side of National HighwayBypass from Nowgam to Bemina. It was, admittedly, partly due to
the fact thatthe politicians’ benami transactions are often subject of a laboriousinvestigative exercise.

Even in the last one year,ET did not report how the Minister and his family members purchased 60 Kanalsof an orchard, once owned by late Sadiq Ali’s father, at Kikker Mode,Chondpora, on Budgam-Beerwah Road. When Tehsildar Territorial of Budgam,objected to illegal annexation and grabbing of 10 Kanals of Kahcharai land and construction of theboundary wall on the state land, he was publicly beaten up by the men at work. Eventhe senior Revenue authorities in the district did conveniently shut eyes.Emboldened by the administration’s ignominy and silence, the owners demolishedthe boundary wall and raised it afresh well on the road. Now five huge godowns,being leased out to Food Corporation of India (FCI) and Department of ConsumersAffairs and Public Distribution (CAPD), are nearing completion on the samelands.

This property, which wasstrategically acquired in the name of two non-descript individuals after thesale was settled through ‘dalals’ atMughal Durbar restaurant in Srinagar,is currently valued at Rs 10 Crore. Who are the influential men behind, MrClean and his “generously equipped” Accountability Commission must find. Theymust, once for all, solve the riddle of a Minister’s making millions andmultiplying them on the monthly salary of Rs 40,000 a month. Oh yes, it hasbeen hiked to Rs 90,o00 a month since last year.

 Yes, ET perhaps crossedthe limits when it reported about the administrative Secretary of the sameMinister that, with the advantage of the Minister’s as well as FinanceMinister’s support of silence, he swindled a sum of Rs 26,000 from a publicaccount and transferred it to his personal salary account on account of theexpenditure on his purely personal visit to Chennai. Minister of Finance wenton record to order an investigation and see how a Government official,responsible for giving legal opinion to the government, had himself indulged inembezzlement of the taxpayers’ money for his personal luxury. The ‘inquiry’ isyet to see the light of the day.

 Yet another matter of thesame administrative Secretary was completely ignored and hushed up by the sameMinister when ET reported how his poorly qualified son was being appointed asPublic Law Officer despite the fact that he stood away from the cut-off fixedby Public Service Commission. Despite the detailed investigative story, carriedby ET with clinching evidences and proofs of fraud, and without a line ofclarification or rejoinder by PSC or the concerned department, the bureaucrat’sson has been reportedly declared successful and appointed as PLO. In thismatter too, where a father is issuing appointment order of his real son, this‘honourable Minister’ has afforded to either lend his support or remain a mutespectator.

 So, how can the ET becredible for this firebrand Minister? Since neither of the omissions andcommissions of his department’s administrative Secretary is benami, he must speak or else eat thehumble pie.


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