Srinagar: The voice for justice to Asifa, who was gang-raped and murdered in her hometown Kathua, has started to come from across India and abroad.
The widespread response to the case has come after the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Crime Branch charge-sheet, filed in a local court, revealed disturbing details of how the 8-year-old was abducted, drugged, gang-raped for seven days, and killed inside a temple.
The brutal incident, scripted ‘to incite fear among the Muslims in Kathua’, has become a prime issue within and outside India.
International newspapers such as Washington Post and New York Times criticised the Jammu lawyers’ protest to prevent filing of the charge-sheet in the court.
People including politicians, celebs, and sportsmen vented their anger on social-media.
On micro-blogging website Twitter, a campaign with hashtag JusticeforAsifa has been started by Tweerati, demanding stern punishment to the accused.
Politicians including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Jignesh Mehvani, and Sushma Swaraj took to the twitter and demanded justice for Asifa.
“@narendramodi ji, you tweeted in minutes, on the suicide of farmer Gajendra in rally. But it has been months, you haven’t spoken a word on ‘8 years old Asifa’s rape & murder, while BJP is wreaking mayhem in Jammu region. The whole country is shaken, but you,” Rahul Gandhi wrote on his twitter handle.
Dalit politician and Gujarat-based independent MLA posted,“ Our great PM @narendramodi will sit on fast today. Hope he will do a fast for little Asifa whose brutal rape & murder was supported by Hindutva thugs like his own cadre. Hope he will also do upwaas for #Unnao rape survivor seeking justice from his bhai@myogiadityanath ka govt.”
Sportsperson across the country equally posted a flurry of tweets, condemning the incident and expressing shock over the protest by lawyers.
Tennis star Sania Mirza wrote: “Is this really the kind of country we want to be known as to the world today ?? If we can’t stand up now for this 8-year-old girl regardless of our gender, caste, colour or religion then we don’t stand for anything in this world… Not even humanity… Makes me sick to the stomach. Justice needs to be done… For the sake of keeping our faith in the judiciary and the system alive… I really hope and pray justice is done… And soon… #UnnaoHorror #UnnaoRapeCase.”
“My heart is broken and I am filled with anger and disgust. Asifa has suffered and gone at the hands of criminals who have also evidently murdered our collective conscience! #Asifa #Kathua #Unnao.”
Cricketer Gautam Gambir, reacted to the protest by lawyers and posted on his twitter handle, “Shame on those, especially the lawyers, who are challenging and obstructing Deepika Singh Rajawat, the counsel of our victimised daughter from Kathua.”
Supporting the justice to Asifa, he posted, “Indian consciousness was raped in Unnao and then in Kathua. It’s now being murdered in corridors of our stinking systems. Come on ‘Mr System’, show us if you have the balls to punish the perpetrators, I challenge you.”
Angry, ashamed and heartbroken is how the Indian film industry personalities described their feelings over Kathua rape and demanded swift action against the perpetrators.
Actress and noted blogger, Swara Bhaskar was first to react over the Kathua minor rape and murder.
On her Facebook and Twitter handle she wrote, “An 8 year old girl was gangraped & murdered in a temple because she belonged to a Muslim tribe that Hindu rightwing goons wanted evicted from their area! #Kathua #India this is on us!!!! If in #Delhi pls join TODAY #JusticeforAsifa”
Noted screenwriter, Javed Akhtar said it was high time that people came forward in support of women rights.
“All those who wish justice for women should stand up and raise their voices against the rapists and their protectors in Unnao and Kathua,” he wrote
Actress Sonam Kapoor shared a news article on Kathua rape and murder and called out fake nationals and fake Hindus in her tweet.
“Ashamed appalled and disgusted by fake nationals and fake Hindus. I cannot believe this is happening in my country,” she wrote.
Actor-filmmaker, Farhan Akhtar pleaded: “Imagine what goes through the mind of an 8 yr old as she is drugged, held captive, gang raped over days and then murdered. If you don’t feel her terror, you are not human. If you don’t demand Asifa get justice, you belong to nothing (sic).”
Actor RajKumar Rao wrote, “This is beyond horrible. How can anyone in their right senses defend these monsters?#JusticeforAsifa#Justice for Humanity. ”
ACB registers case; Dy Mayor Imran, bank, govt officials in the soup
‘Bank gave Rs 36 cr loan on property already declared NPA’
Srinagar, Jun 15: Accusing them of criminal conspiracy and illegal appropriation of subsidy worth crores, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has registered a case against businessman and deputy mayor Sheikh Imran and some government and J&K Bank officials.
The three parties are accused of “illegal appropriation of subsidy with inflated project cost for establishment of CA storage at Lassipora, Pulwama.”
The development happens days after ACB had raided 10 premises of Imran-owned Kehwa group last Tuesday.
An ACB spokesperson in a statement on Saturday said: “Case FIR No. 3/2019 u under section 5(1) (d) P.C Act Samvat 2006, punishable u/S 5(2) of the Act r/w 420 & 120-B RPC has been registered in Police Station Anti-Corruption Bureau, South Kashmir (Anantnag) against Shiekh Imran Director M/S Kehwa Square Pvt Ltd Bohri Kadal Srinagar, officers of J&K Bank and other government officials, for illegal appropriation of subsidy with inflated project cost for establishment of CA storage at Lassipora, Pulwama, (sic).”
Imran, who’d written dozens of tweets accusing the former J&K Bank Chairman Pervez Ahmad of being corrupt soon after the latter was sacked, has now himself landed in the soup.
During the verification conducted by ACB Kashmir, it was revealed that Imran had submitted a proposal to J&K Bank for establishment of controlled atmosphere (CA) storage under the name of M/S Kehwa Square Pvt Ltd at Lassipora, Pulwama.
As per the norms of Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH, a Joint Inspection Team of various experts and government officials along with Shiekh Imran (Director M/S Kehwa Square Pvt. Ltd) conducted spot inspection of the site, the ACB spokesperson said.
The team assessed the cost of the project as Rs 33 crores including the 50% subsidy of Rs 16.50 crores, under Horticulture Mission for North East & Himalayan States (HMNEH), a part of MIDH scheme.
The assessment report, as per the spokesperson, was sent to the empowered monitoring committee of MIDH, Government of India, for its final approval.
Once approved, the J&K Government, the spokesperson said, too constituted a committee which, after spot inspection and physical verification, recommended release of subsidy as per norms without altering or amending the component wise value of machinery and civil works.
The subsidy component (Rs 16.50 crores) released by National Horticulture Board (NHB), was, required to be kept in a separate account by the credit provider bank.
The money, as a matter of fact, was to be termed as ‘subsidy reserve fund’ and had detailed terms and conditions for its adjustment.
The Kehwa Group, meanwhile, was running six more business units for which Imran had raised varied loans and overdrafts, the total liabilities on account of which had accumulated to Rs 138 crores.
At this point, Kehwa Square including its sister business concerns, had turned Non-Performing Assets (NPA). Imran, as such, sought a one-time settlement (OTS) with J&K Bank authorities to which the bank accepted to wave-off Rs 33 crore from his total liabilities.
The Kehwa group was now asked to deposit Rs 105 crores in two instalments with the first instalment of Rs 50 crores to be paid by March 03, 2017.
With crores off his shoulder just like that, Imran then thought of another ploy.
He, the ACB investigation reveals, usurped the subsidy component he’d received for his CA storage business by declaring it as NPA without paying even a single instalment towards the bank.
This Imran did with connivance of the Horticulture Officers and Bank Officials, the ACB spokesperson added.
Meanwhile, the cost of the CA project assessed by ACB was found much lower than the projected cost.
It didn’t stop here though.Imran, with the active support of the officials of J&K Bank, roped in another business unit ‘M/S Go Fresh’, whose proprietor, as per ACB, is one Nadeem Ahmad Mayar.
Nadeem sought and obtained a loan of Rs 36.10 crore in lieu of the proposed transfer in his name the same CA Store in Lassipora which Imran had received the loan on.
Ironically, the property Nadeem got the loan on was already under hypothecation with the bank as the asset of the principal borrower, Kehwa Square Pvt. Ltd.
Nadeem, as per ACB, then physically took over the operation of the CA storage business unit “without formal transfer of assets/liabilities in his favour.”
The ACB inquiry revealed that Kehwa Square Pvt Ltd surreptitiously sought and got further concessions from the bank on his second installment of Rs 55 crore of the total one-time settlement of Rs 105 crores.
The Rs 55-crore installment, as per ACB, was further reduced to Rs 27 crore.
The ACB inquiry revealed that Kehwa Group “in furtherance of a well-knit conspiracy with respective Government agencies and bank authorities under the garb of NPA and OTSs in mutual conspiracy illegally benefitted the proprietor/s of M/S Kehwa Group with illegal appropriation of subsidy amount of Rs 16.50 crores and layering of various transactions.”
Thus, the spokesperson of the Bureau said, it was established that the Kehwa Group had got their loan of Rs 138 crores with J&K Bank, restructured for an amount of Rs 78 crores.
“Under a well-knit conspiracy Sheikh Imran and partners of M/S Kehwa Square were extended covert/overt support by Officers of J&K Bank and Joint Inspection Team (the one which inspected the CA facility), dishonestly and fraudulently, who by abuse and misuse of their official position as public servants conferred undue pecuniary/monetary advantage on Kehwa Group of Companies thereby causing illegal appropriation of crores of rupees from State exchequer, for personal motives,” the spokesperson said.
“The investigation has been set into motion and further action as per law is in process,” he added.
Imran, in the meantime, did not respond to several calls and a text message by The Kashmir Monitor. Later, he switched off his phone.
JK Bank implements RTI, CVC guidelines framework
Srinagar, Jun 15: The Board of Directors of J&K Bank Saturday took some important decisions towards improving governance and bringing more transparency in the functioning of the Bank.
While meeting for the first time under the Chairmanship of its interim Chairman & Managing Director Rajesh Kumar Chhibber, the Board took major decisions in this direction which include implementation of J&K RTI Act, 2009 and CVC guidelines from June 17.
Besides other directors on Board of the Bank, the meeting was attended by Promotor Director Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, Financial Commissioner of J&K State.
Notably the Board of Directors after receiving directions from the Government of J&K had in its meeting held on March 16 decided to implement the RTI and CVC guidelines from June this year.
While passing directions to arrest any further slippages of accounts to NPA, the Board also decided that strict action shall be initiated against all the willful defaulters.
The Board also urged for a strong monitoring mechanism for ensuring timely implementation of Board decisions.
Boosting the digital vision of the bank, the Board also called for strengthening of technology framework that includes migration of its Core Banking Solution to Finacle 10 besides strengthening its early warning and alert generation systems.
Expressing total confidence in the Bank’s management and staff, the Board unanimously assured all the stakeholders that the Bank is fundamentally strong and was in safe Zone as all the measures were afoot to institutionalize transparency and strengthen accountability frameworks structurally by reinforcing proper checks and balances within the system.
The Board was optimistic that the bank will achieve all the envisaged business targets in time and would do better on all performance indicators going forward.
JK’s inspection dept doesn’t inspect
Cries manpower shortage with just 5 officers in place for 40 depts
Srinagar, Jun 15: As incredible as it may sound, Jammu and Kashmir has only five officers to conduct the administrative inspection of 40 departments to ensure proper maintenance of records and implementation of the rules and regulations.
Jammu and Kashmir government has established Department of Administrative Reforms, Inspections and Trainings (ARI&T) with a specific mandate to finalise recruitment rules and maintain the records.
As per the rules, the Department of ARI&T has to carry out periodic inspections of different offices and submit their performance report to the government.
Yet only five officers have been posted to conduct the inspection of 40 departments.
“These five officers are unable to conduct periodic inspections. This department has the responsibility to conduct surprise inspections but these are rarely being done given the dearth of manpower,” said a source in the department.
There are several departments which have not even framed the recruitment rules or promotion policy.
For instance, Srinagar Development Authority (SDA), an official said, is functioning without any recruitment rules which has resulted in stagnation and impacted the promotion prospects of its employees.“Eighteen months ago departmental promotion committee of SDA recommended promotion of some officials, but it was not approved for the want of recruitment rules. Department of Administrative Reforms, Inspections and Trainings too did not conduct any inspection to finalise the recruitment rules,” the official added.
Sources said that given the shortage of workforce, the Department of ARI&T will take years to conduct the administrative inspections of all the departments.
A senior official of the ARI&T, however, said they have written to the government to fill the vacant posts at the earliest. “Once we get the adequate staff, there will be regular inspection of the departments,” he added.