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Indicted in funds-misappropriation case, Agri officers get benefits through influence

Srinagar, Aug 19: Tainted officials of the Agriculture Department are using ‘influence’ to get no objection certificate to get post-retirement benefits.

An enquiry last year revealed massive financial “irregularities” in which the regularised helpers were forced to pay “bribes” to officials of the Agriculture Department in Budgam.

The officials were reported to have prepared “fictitious” vouchers for never-held training camps.

Among those indicted included Chief Agriculture Officer (now retired), Budgam, I/C SDAO Budgam (now retired) in the capacity of SDAO Beerwah, and DAO (Extn) (now retired) in the capacity of SDAO Chadoora.

Now, an official of the department told The Kashmir Monitor, many of them have been seeking post-retirement benefits with use of the “influence” they enjoy.

The official said one of the accused draws his pension even without having acquired the otherwise-necessary no-objection certificate (NOC) from the department.

“Another accused has been using influence to get NOC for his post-retirement benefits,” the official said. “The other accused, who was transferred for his alleged involvement in the case, has managed to return to his place.”

Commissioner Secretary Agriculture Department, Manzoor Ahmad Lone, said he recently joined the department and would look into the matter.