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Thursday, December 31, 2015

How Khandey failed to induct Hassan Mir's Munsiff son into IAS

A junior judge is on deputation with State Govt for over 10 years

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

JAMMU, Dec 30: When senior IAS officer Mohammad Iqbal Khandey came off the hook in the infamous Srinagar sex scandal after the complainant witnesses turned hostile in a Chandigarh court, then Minister of Agriculture Ghulam Hassan Mir played a key role in his rehabilitation in bureaucracy. Mir managed his appointment as Principal Secretary Agriculture Production. Later, upon Madhav Lal's retirement, Mir was instrumental behind Khandey's elevation to the senior most bureaucratic position of Chief Secretary in February 2013.

Before his voluntary retirement in August 2015, three months ahead of his scheduled superannuation, Khandey made sustained attempts to induct Mir's son, Afroz Mir, into so-called technical quota (TQ) of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). However, he failed each time as the Department of Personnel & Training (DOPT) of the Government of India did not determine the vacancies for Jammu and Kashmir cadres under TQ in 2014 and 2015.

Highly placed authoritative sources in Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s government revealed to STATE TIMES that on Khandey’s instance, Commissioner Secretaries of General Administration Department (GAD) sent a series of communications seeking determination of the vacancies under TQ, making it a point that nobody had been inducted from Jammu and Kashmir for over the last five years, after former Law Secretary Ghulam Hassan Tantray.

"Neither in Omar Abdullah's nor in Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s government were the TQ vacancies determined by the DOPT. A list of highly influential recommendees, containing 13 names, was framed but kept a closely-guarded secret for it included junior officers on controversial deputations like Mir's son who had been appointed as a Munsiff in 2003 and soon sent on a brief deputation from judicial service to the Civil Secretariat.

Mir Afroz was initially appointed as Assistant Legal Remembrancer (ALR) in the State Law Department---a position equivalent to Munsiff or an Under Secretary to Government. However, enjoying high political clout, Mir Afroz was soon appointed on the far superior position of Director Defence Labour Procurement. In judicial service that position is stated to be equivalent to a District and Sessions Judge. As soon as then Chief Justice Bashir Ahmad Khan learned about the Munsiff's superior deputation, he dashed off a communication to Chief Secretary S.S. Kapur. Khan asked Chief Secretary to explain how a junior Munsiff had been elevated to a senior civil service position during deputation not approved by his employer---J&K High Court.

Suddenly the matter was hushed up purportedly after Mir called off his rebellion and surrendered before the PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Chief Secretary’s explanation did not see the light of the day thereafter. Even after Mir broke away with PDP and floated his own party, Mir Afroz was reither shifted by the State government nor recalled from unending deputation by J&K High Court. It was the time when 50 Munsiff courts were without a judge in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Someone other would have been called back within 6 months or one year as Supreme Court of India has given special direction to J&K Government that no stop gap arrangement should extend beyond 6 months. Since he was an influential Minister’s son, nobody in High Court or the State government dared to touch him", said a bureaucratic source.

Advocate Pawan Dev Singh filed an application under RTI Act last year and sought information from GAD about the non-KAS officials recommended, considered or granted induction into IAS after 2007. Even as the information was ready, the bureaucracy under Khandey made it a point that the name of Hassan Mir's son should not be made public under any circumstances. Singh filed the first appeal which failed to evoke any response from Civil Secretariat. His second appeal is currently under process with Jammu and Kashmir State Information Commission (SIC).

The SIC, according to sources, put its foot down and forced GAD to provide the information demanded. Sources in GAD disclosed to STATE TIMES that Sectional Officer Amreek Singh finally sent the information to SIC.

In reply to Singh’s first question, GAD made it clear that no non-KAS official had been inducted into IAS after 2007. His second question was: "How many officers other than those from State Civil Services (KAS) were recommended for appointment to IAS in pursuance to the Government of Jammu and Kashmir General Administration Department Services Section Civil Secretariat Srinagar Order No: GAD (Ser)IAS/88/2013 dated 08.08.2013 by the different State departments by or before the due date, furnish the names with the full particulars of the officers so recommended".

The GAD's reply annexure makes it clear that Mir Afroz, now posted as Secretary Khadi and Village Industries Board, figures at serial number 7. Director Accounts and Treasuries Kashmir Laila Chanda figures at serial number 6 but it is mentioned in the remarks column that she had become ineligible with crossing the age bar of 54 years.

Sources insist that some nominations, including Mir Afroz's, were deficient as these did not contain mandatory 10 years of "Outstanding" APRs or the mandatory Vigilance clearance. His nomination and recommendation, according to sources, came from the former Law Secretary Ghulam Hassan Tantray.

Incumbent Law Secretary Mohammad Ashraf Mir insisted that he had "absolutely no knowledge of such recommendations". "It didn't happen during my tenure", he told STATE TIMES. He was in fact surprised to know that Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs department of the Omar Abdullah government had also recommended some other law officers like Ghulam Nabi Ganai, ex-Minister Hassan Mir's OSD Abdul Majid Bhat and Fayaz Ahmad Sheikh.

Others recommend clandestinely for the IAS induction by different departments included MD of SRTC and then Director State Motor Garage Ghulam Ahmad Sofi (Transport), Medical Superintendent GB Pant Hospital Dr Shafqat Khan, Financial Advisor Health and Medical Education Department Zahoor Ahmad Wani, Accounts Officer Romesh Singh besides ADs/DDs of Planning and Development Department Anil Kumar Gandotra, Satvir Kaur Sudan, Shehzada Bilal Ahmad and Tariq Ahmad Khan.

Officials said that this nomination list of 13 non-KAS officials would change completely with fresh nominations as and when vacancies under TQ were to be determined by DOPT.


[ Published in today's STATE TIMES ] 

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