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Govt removes JK Bank Chairman

• Chhibber appointed as interim head
• ACB registers case, raids Bank’s Corp Hqrs; open to scrutiny, says Parvez

Nisar Dharma

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The Governor led J&K government Saturday removed Jammu & Kashmir Bank Chairman and CEO Parvez Ahmad and appointed executive president RK Chhibber as the bank’s interim Chairman.

As per an order issued by Additional Secretary Finance Department, Vishal Sharma, the government, exercising the powers under Article 69 (iii) of Articles of Association of the J&K Bank, ceased the directorship of Parvez and also removed him as the Chairman cum Managing Director of the Board.

The government further ordered placement of Executive President RK Chhibber as the Director on the Board.

 

“RK Chhibber is hereby nominated as the Director on the Board and may be further appointed as the interim Chairman cum Managing Director of the Board,” the order read adding the directions shall come into effect immediately.

Minutes after the order, sleuths of state’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) raided the bank’s corporate headquarters in Srinagar, officials said.

An ACB Kashmir spokesperson said the bureau registered a case under Prevention of Corruption Act on outcome of a written complaint to look into the “allegations related to illegal/fraudulent appointments made in JK bank.”

“Since the allegations reflected in the complaint disclose commission of criminal misconduct by Officers/officials of J&K Bank which constitute offence under section 5(1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act Samvat-2006 and punishable under section 5(2) of the Act,  Case FIR No. 10/2019 was registered in Anti Corruption Bureau Central Kashmir Srinagar and investigation of the case was taken up,” the spokesperson said.

He added that immediately after the registration of FIR, the J&K Bank headquarters was raided and during search operations “documents/discriminatory material pertaining to the appointments were seized.”

“Further investigation is going on,” the ACB spokesperson said.

Later in the day, Parvez reacted to his sacking.

Taking to Twitter, he wrote:  “Absolutely no regrets. Did my job most diligently, honestly and in the best interest of the institution. Open to scrutiny on each and every transaction I have done during my two decades of functioning in the bank.”

The Kashmir Monitor tried to contact several business leaders of the valley to get their comments on the early and sudden removal of the Chairman and the subsequent raids, however, all of them refused to comment.

Almost all the politicians, including the chiefs of NC and PDP Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti – who are otherwise very active on social media – too preferred to remain tight-lipped over the matter.

The only notable reaction came from the former bureaucrat turned politician, Shah Faesal, who tweeted: “Good that J&K Government has started clean-up of J&K Bank. In recent times this important State institution has been in news for all the wrong reasons. Government should take all measures to strengthen the Bank, bring in transparency & continue with District-wise recruitment.”

To mention, Pervez was appointed as chairman and CEO of the bank in October 2016 for the term of three years.

The former finance minister of the J&K, Haseeb Drabu, too served as chairman of the bank and was made to resign in 2010.

The J&K government owns 59% shares of the J&K Bank. Incorporated in 1938, the bank is listed on both NSE and BSE.

This is the only private sector bank designated as the Reserve Bank of India’s agent for banking business and carries out the banking business of the Central government besides collecting central taxes for CBDT. In November last year, the Governor-led State Administrative Council (SAC) had approved the proposal for treating the Bank as a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU), inviting criticism from its employees, who took to the streets in protest.


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Militant, Army officer killed in Anantnag gunfight

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Srinagar, Jun 17: An Army officer and a militant were killed and three other soldiers including a Major injured in a gunfight in south Kashmir Anantnag district on Monday, police said.

Police sources said the officer was shot at during the firing exchange between the holed-up militants and security forces in Bidoora village in Achabal area of the district.

The slain militant was believed to be a foreigner.

 

SSP Anantnag, Altaf Khan said that the operation was launched following specific inputs about the presence of some militants in the area.

He said that as the joint team intensified the searches, the militants, hiding in the area, opened fire which was retaliated, triggering off a gunfight.

Initially, sources said, the joint team of forces and militants exchanged gunfire for some time during which the house, in which the militants were hiding, was damaged. Later there was a lull for about an hour even as Army rushed more reinforcements and the joint team started searches to find out the militants.

Soon the militants rose from the debris and opened indiscriminate fire on the forces, resulting in the on-spot death of Major Keetan Sharma and injuries to three others including another Army Major Rahul Verma, sources said.

They added the joint team of forces retailed the fire, leading to the fresh gunfight in an open field. While one militant was killed and the search operation is underway to find if there is any more militant hiding in the area.

The identity and group affiliation of the slain militant is being ascertained, sources said.

Meanwhile, youth took to streets and pelted stones at the security forces. The police and paramilitary CRPF deployed in the area used tear smoke shells and pellets to disperse them.

In wake of the operation, the authorities snapped internet service in the southern district.

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IED blast in Pulwama, 6 soldiers, 2 civilians injured

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Srinagar, Jun 17: Militants on Monday attempted to blow off an Army vehicle in a village in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

A police official said that an armoured vehicle of Army came under an IED attack in Hargam Arihal village of Pulwama. He added that after the blast militants also fired some gunshots towards the vehicle.

Local residents informed that they heard huge blast followed by gunshots.

 

Reports said that six soldiers and two civilians were injured in the blast. The soldiers were shifted to Army’s 92 base hospital at Badamibagh, Srinagar for treatment.

The area was soon cordoned off, officials said.

Earlier, reports said that militants exploded an IED under a Casper vehicle, extensively damaging it, as an army convoy passed through Arihal. However, the army clarified that the damaged vehicle was not a Casper, but an Ashok Leyland Stallion truck.

Three of them who were travelling in the cabin of the vehicle are stated to be serious, the news agency reported.

The blast was triggered by militants using a car laden with explosives, GNS reported attributing the same to “initial investigations by police.”

“A police officer that the explosives were fitted inside a car and investigators are probing the owner of the vehicle. Asked, which type of vehicle was used, the officer said that it is a matter of investigation,” the news agency reported.

“Samples have been collected and further probe is underway,” the officer was quoted saying.

In a statement, the Army called the attack a “failed attempt” by militants. The troops are safe, barring a few minor injuries, it said, adding, “The area has been cordoned and search operations are in progress”.

The blast comes days after Pakistan had reportedly shared information with India and America regarding the possibility of major militant attack in the south Kashmir district. (With inputs from GNS)

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Emotional scenes at slain SHO’s wreath-laying ceremony

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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SSP Srinagar, Dr Haseeb Mughal holding in his lap the son of slain SHO Arshid Khan during the wreath laying ceremony at DPL, Srinagar on Monday – Photo: Umar Ganie

Srinagar, Jun 17: Emotional scenes were Monday witnessed at District Police Lines (DPL) Srinagar as top cops and bureaucrats attended the wreath-laying ceremony of the slain police officer Arshad Khan, who had sustained critical injuries in a militant attack in Anantnag last week and later succumbed to his injuries at AIIMS, Delhi on Sunday.

J&K Police chief Dilbagh Singh, Advisors to Governor K Vijay Kumar and KK Sharma, Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra, Divisional Commissioner Baseer Ahmed Khan, ADGP Muneer Khan, and SSP Srinagar Dr Haseeb Mughal, among other civil and police officers were present on the occasion.

J&K Police shared two heart wrenching photos of Dr Mughal carrying the deceased’s son in his arms during the wreath-laying ceremony.

 

In the photos, a teary-eyed Haseeb is seen carrying slain Arshad Khan’s son while paying tributes to his colleague.

On the occasion, Advisor Kumar said that more than 1600 J&K Police personnel have lost their lives in the line of duty.

On June 12, around 4:50 pm, five paramilitary troopers and a militant were killed and four other security forces personnel including Arshad sustained injuries after militants attacked a joint party of CRPF and police at bus stand Anantnag.

Arshad was immediately evacuated to a nearby hospital and then to Srinagar’ SK Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura. After being treated there for a few days, he was flown to Delhi’s AIIMS hospital where he succumbed to his injuries on Sunday.

According to police, Arshad was inducted into police services in the year 2002 and was presently posted as SHO Anantnag. Khan is survived by father and mother, wife Neelofar, 5-year-old son Abuhan Khan, Danim 2, and a brother.

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