Srinagar, Oct 22: Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has gone whole hog against corrupt politicians and government officials and registered 60 cases under different anti-graft laws in 2019 across Jammu and Kashmir.
Official details accessed by The Kashmir Monitor reveal that the ACB has registered 29 cases in Kashmir and 31 in Jammu in 2019 so far. Some of the cases have been registered against top politicians and bureaucrats in the state.
Cases were registered against deputy mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, J&K Bank and government officials for “illegal appropriation of subsidy with inflated project cost for establishment of CA storage at Lassipora, Pulwama”.
The anti-graft has also registered a case against former chairman of the bank for allegedly misusing his position. A case has also been registered against former Director Archives and Archaeology Department for allegedly misusing his position by ordering enhancement of consolidated wages without authorization.
A case has also been registered against former directors of Rural Development Department Jammu for allegedly misusing official position and causing loss to state exchequer. The anti-graft body has also registered a case against former Managing Director JAKFED for misuse of official position. It has registered a case against a Naib Tehsildar in Srinagar for allegedly misuse of official position.
The anti-graft body has registered a case against former senior town planner and former commissioner municipal corporation Jammu. They have been booked for alleged criminal misconduct, abuse and misuse of their official position as public servants.
The ACB has also booked Divisional Manager of State Forest Corporation (SFC) Udhampur in a graft case. A case has also been registered against former Assistant Commissioner Development, Rajouri on corruption charges.
Last year, Governor Administration set up ACB to combat corruption in Jammu and Kashmir. Later The ACB was given more teeth to take on highly influential people.
An official of ACB said that there are complaints against several top government officials for their involvement in corruption. “Some are still at an initial stage and action would be taken in next few weeks,” he said
Governor Satya Pal Malik had said that “Anti-Corruption Bureau won’t spare anyone even those who are part of big political parties.”
Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam had said the establishment of ACB would do away with the shortcomings and multiplicity of roles in the existing anti-corruption mechanism operational in the state.
“The ACB has been empowered. It is as powerful as CBI. The government has strengthened the ACB so it acts against powerful people,” he had said.
Geelani stable, conscious: Dir SKIMS
Srinagar, Feb 16: The condition of ailing separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani is improving, doctors said on Sunday.
According to Director, SKIMS, Dr. A. G. Ahangar, Geelani is stable and he is conscious, cooperative and oriented.
A team of doctors is monitoring his condition.
News agency PTI reported that a team of doctors visited Geelani on Saturday to assess his condition.
“The patient is taking liquid diet and medicines prescribed by Dr Naveed from Chest Medicine of GMC Srinagar,” PTI quoted a doctor saying.
The senior most separatist leader, Geelani, 90, has been house arrested for the last over one decade.
Speculations about his health condition had forced authorities to shut down mobile internet for a day earlier this week.
The weekly Sunday market too was disallowed as a precautionary measure considering the fragile health condition of the aged leader.
Security forces have been deployed in strength outside Geelani’s Hyderpora residence to deal with any eventuality.
Important for India, Pak to de-escalate, both militarily and verbally: UN chief
UN chief Antonio Guterres said on Sunday it was important for India and Pakistan to de-escalate “militarily and verbally” and exercise “maximum restraint” as he began his four-day visit to the country, amidst tense relationship between the two nuclear armed neighbours.
Addressing a press conference after his meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the UN Secretary-General said he was “deeply concerned” over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and tensions along the Line of Control.
The UN chief on Sunday arrived on a four-day visit to Pakistan during which he will attend an international conference on Afghan refugees and visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib.
“Diplomacy and dialogue remain the only tools that guarantee peace and stability with solutions in accordance with the Charter of United Nations and resolutions of the Security Council,” Guterres told reporters.
He emphasised the importance to “de-escalate, both militarily and verbally” while talking about relations between Pakistan and India.
Guterres said he had “repeatedly stressed the importance of exercising maximum restraint”.
“I offered my good offices from the beginning. I am ready to help if both countries agree for mediation,” he said.
Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after New Delhi abrogated ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 last year. India”s decision evoked strong reactions from Pakistan, which downgraded its diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian envoy.
India has defended its move, saying the special status provisions only gave rise to terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.
“The country took the decision of abrogation of Article 370, which had only given separatism and terrorism to that state,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in October last year.
The UN chief said that the issue of Kashmir should be resolved according to UN resolution.
“UNMOGIP (UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan) should be given free access. It is already there on the Pakistan side, and it should also be given on the other side,” he said.
“We have taken a position that UN resolutions (on Kashmir) should be implemented, there should be ceasefire (on LoC) and human rights should be respected,” he said.
India maintains that UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Simla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the LoC.
India has rejected any third party intervention to the Kashmir issue and has maintained that all outstanding matters in Indo-Pak ties should be resolved bilaterally.
In August last year, Prime Minister Modi categorically rejected any scope for third party mediation on Kashmir, saying it was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, and “we don”t want to bother any third country”.
Calling the Kartarpur initiative a “symbol of interfaith harmony, a unique experiment in cross-border ties”, the UN chief said that the opening of the corridor showed “Pakistan”s commitment to peace”.
Guterres said one of the main purposes of his visit was to “spotlight the real Pakistan, with all its possibilities and potential.”
Qureshi in his remarks said that he briefed Guterres on the “challenging situation” after India revoked the special status of Kashmir.
He also demanded that UN human rights commissioner should come up with a report on post-August 5 situation in Kashmir.
Earlier on Sunday, the UN Secretary-General was received by Pakistan”s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Munir Akram and senior officials of the Foreign Office and the United Nations in Pakistan on his arrival at the Nur Khan Airbase, Radio Pakistan reported.
According to Pakistan Foreign Office, Guterres will also hold talks with President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan.
During these meetings, Pakistan will share its perspective on the Kashmir issue, it said.
His other engagements include interactions with parliamentarians and the youth.
He will deliver special talks on themes of sustainable development, climate change and peacekeeping.
Guterres will also visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, the final resting place of the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak Dev, in Kartarpur.
Guru Nanak Dev spent the last 18 years of his life at Gurduwara Kartarpur Sahib, which has now become the world”s largest Sikh Gurdwara.
The UN chief will speak at the international conference on ”40 Years of Hosting Afghan Refugees in Pakistan”, which is being organised by Pakistan and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
The two-day conference starting from Monday will be inaugurated by prime minister Khan
Stand firm on Art 370, CAA: PM
Varanasi, Feb 16: Ruling out a rethink on decisions on CAA and Article 370, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday asserted that his government remains and will remain firm on the steps, which have been taken in national interest, despite pressure from all sides.
“Be it the scrapping of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir or the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the country waited for decisions on these for years,” he told a public meeting here during a day-long visit to his Lok Sabha constituency.
“These decisions were necessary in the interest of the nation. Duniya bhar ke saarey dabaon ke bawjood, inn faislon par hum qayam hain, qayam rahengey (Despite pressure from all sides, we remain firm on the decisions and will continue to remain firm,” Modi said.
Provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution, which accorded special powers to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, were abrogated by the government in August last year.
The prime minister’s tough talk assumed significance in view of protests against the CAA in various parts of the country.
Citing certain key decisions of his government, Modi referred to the trust set up for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya and asserted that it would work “rapidly”.
“A trust has been formed for the construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya. This trust will work rapidly,” he said.
He said that after setting up of the trust, the work on the construction of ”Ram dham” will start with fast speed.
The government had recently set up the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra on the Supreme Court”s directive to the Union government to form a trust that can look into the construction and management of the temple.
The prime minister earlier launched or laid foundation of 50 projects worth Rs 1,254 crore in his Lok Sabha constituency.
He also flagged off IRCTC’s ”Maha Kaal Express” through video link during his day-long visit to the city.
It will be the first overnight private train in the country to connect three Jyotirling pilgrimage centres of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, and Ujjain and Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh.
The prime minister dedicated to the nation the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Memorial Centre and unveiled a 63-foot statue of the RSS ideologue – the tallest statue of the leader in the country.
“The soul of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay gives us encouragement. We are working for uplift of Dalits, deprived and others sections. And this is what Upadhyay’s ”Antyoday” says – to give all facilities to last beneficiary in the queue,” Modi said.
He said that in past few years, Rs 25,000 crore worth developmental projects have either completed or were going on in fast speed in Varanasi.
Roadway, highway, waterway and railway have been given top priority by the government and the Purvanchal Expressway work was going on at fast speed in Uttar Pradesh.
The prime minister also laid emphasis on better connectivity of heritage and religious sites, saying that tourism will be the main source of making the country 5 trillion dollar economy.
He said, “Our behaviour as a citizen will decide direction of the country in future. Country is not made by governments only, but values of people residing here.”
Soon after his arrival here, Modi participated in the closing ceremony of the centenary celebrations of the Shri Jagadguru Vishwaradhya Gurukul and released the translated version of the Shri Siddhant Shikhamani Granth in 19 languages and its mobile application.
Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Minster Yogi Adityanath and Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa were present on the occasion.
Modi also inaugurated a 430-bed super-speciality government hospital here.