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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

DD anchor caught red-handed with NC’s ex-MLC

Couple stayed in houseboat for two nights; protected politician escapes but Police seizes his Scorpio, gun licence, ATM cards and a bottle of whisky

Early Times Report

Srinagar, Sep 10: Apparently a fresh sex scandal, involving a ruling National Conference (NC) leader, known for his proximity to the party top brass, and a female anchor of Srinagar Doordarshan, who has stage-anchored Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s public shows, has surfaced last evening in Hazratbal area of the summer capital. While as the anchor of DD’s daily morning show has been reportedly caught red-handed and arrested for “obscene act at a public place”, Police have registered a criminal matter and launched manhunt for the former Member of Legislative Council (MLC) who is said to have escaped from the spot.

Informed sources revealed to Early Times that a party from Police Station Nageen conducted a raid over a complaint at a car parking near Bagh-e-Shagoofa at the famous picturesque Nageen Lake last evening at around 7.30 p.m. and took into custody a 42-year-old woman. Her alleged partner, who happens to be a leader of the ruling NC, managed to escape from the spot. However, Police seized his Scorpio, bearing registration No: JK01N-6565, alongwith his gun licence of a .12 bore rifle, three ATM cards, a pair of shoes and a half-filled bottle of Hundred Piper whisky.

“We have arrested the female and launched a manhunt to arrest the male who managed to escape. As they were in a comprising position and taking liquor at a public place, we have filed FIR No: 110 of 2012 dated 10-09-2012 under section 294 RPC at Police Station Nageen”, one of the investigating officials confirmed to Early Times. He said that Police was on the job to arrest the escapee with the help of questioning of his PSOs, contacts, acquaintances and relatives.

According to the official, the escapee male was married and the female, taken into custody, was a divorcee. Asked if a medical test or a liquor consumption test had been conducted on the detained female, the official said that neither of the two was required in this matter. He said that the investigation was underway in light of the female’s disclosure and a corroboration that the couple had stayed for two previous nights at Royal Palace houseboat, anchored yards away from the car parking.

Section 294 of Ranbir Penal Code is invoked and slapped on “whoever, to the annoyance of others, does any obscene act in any public place or sings, recites or utters any obscene songs, ballads or words in or near any public place”. It is non-bailable and seeks “punishment with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months or with fine or with both”.

SSP Srinagar, Syed Ashiq Hussain Bukhari, could be reached over telephone but he refused to make comment and answer questions on the subject. He also refused to confirm or deny reports that Police was “under tremendous pressure to hush up the case”. “I have to say nothing”, SSP maintained.

The detained television anchor, who has been anchoring small screen shows, as well as high profile government functions, was placed in custody of Women’s Police Station Rambagh after three rounds of sustained questioning. Later, this evening she was released on the bail granted to her by a judicial magistrate.

The FIR identifies the escapee as Altaf Ahmad Wani alias Altaf Kaloo of Aeshmuqam, Anantnag, who is holding a party position and has functioned as NC’s MLC from April 2009 to April 2011. Even after he failed to get a fresh ticket in Legislative Council elections in 2011, he is known for his proximity to the NC’s top brass. In the Assembly elections of 2008, he was NC’s candidate from Pahalgam but lost to PDP’s Rafi Ahmad Mir with a deficit of about 14,000 votes.

Reportedly a favourite of the incumbent Director of Doordarshan Kendra Srinagar, Shammi Shair, the accused woman has been regularly anchoring the station’s daily morning show “Good Morning J&K”. She has anchored hundreds of DD’s programmes besides over 2,000 musical serials of DDK Srinagar and ‘DD Kashir’ in the last 10 years. Among the high-profile political and government functions, she has acted as anchor for a number of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s and AICC President Sonia Gandhi’s public shows in Srinagar. It was she who anchored Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s 10,000-strong show which was organized by Social Welfare Department, School Education Department and then Chairman of State Social Welfare Advisory Board, Ghulam Mohammad Saroori, during Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad’s regime at SKICC in 2006.

Enjoying intimate relationship with a number of J&K’s politicians, bureaucrats and Heads of Departments (HoDs), and extensively promoted by a former Director of Information, the accused has also anchored nearly 400 episodes of Omar Abdullah government’s top promotion programme, titled “Aks-e-Parwaaz”, running six-days-a-week on DD’s all stations in J&K and sponsored by the state Information Department.


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