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Madni quits as PDP vice prez

‘Did so for party stability’; PDP workers reiterate support to Mehbooba

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Srinagar, July 23: PDP vice president Sartaj Madni has submitted his resignation as the vice-president of the
party.
Madni was quoted saying by news agency Kashmir News Service: “I have submitted my resignation to party
president Mehbooba Mufti in the larger interests of the party and for its strengthening, stability and unity.”
The development comes in the backdrop of PDP dissidents including former sports minister Imran Raza
Ansari questioning party’s vice presidency by the maternal uncle of party president Mehbooba Mufti.
They were alleging that occupying party’s top position by Mehbooba’s maternal uncle is part of the “dynasty
politics being imposed” in the party.
Clarifying the charges of the PDP dissidents, Madni said “I have resigned from the party’s vice presidency for
strengthening the party as otherwise I too have worked thought in founding and strengthening the party.”
While Madni refused to answer any questions, his resignation is believed to be part of efforts within the PDP
to bring back the disgruntled legislators.
The seven rebel legislators, including two MLCs, had come out in the open against Mufti after the PDP-BJP
coalition government in the state fell, following the withdrawal of support by the saffron party.
Recently top PDP leader and Member parliament Muzafar Hussain Baig has said that party president
Mehbooba Mufti should take some tangible actions on the grievances of some descanting voices within the
party.
Meanwhile, party workers and activists from Sonawari assembly segment on Monday called on party
president Mehbooba Mufti, at her Srinagar residence, extending their full support to the party while
reiterating the pledge to strengthen the PDP at the grass-roots.
Hundreds of parts workers and activists hailing from six blocks of Sonawari assembly segment including
Sumbal, Ganistan, Nowgham, Hajin, Naidkhai and Madwan met the former chief minister and PDP president,
extending their full support to PDP while reiterating that the process to carry forward party’s mission to
every household shall continue a top most priority for them.

The workers and activists led by Sub Zone President Sonawari, Dr Ali Mohammad and Block President
Ganistan Nazir Ahmad Sheikh were in unison stating that the PDP has once again proven that the interests of
the people of the state are supreme for it than power and that the party has been in the forefront to set an
example how principles cannot be battened against petty grains.
“Governments will come and go but we want to tell you that we are with you and will continue to remain
steadfast in our resolve to carry forward the mission of the PDP which is to accord a dignified life to the
people of the state and make them witness a peace and tranquil state,” workers told the party President.
They also assured the party president that at this crucial stage when vested interests are hell bent to
suppress the just voice of the PDP, the party shall remain united in its efforts to uphold the principles of
objectivity, justice and righteousness.
“PDP is a party that has inspired the perturbed masses of the state to look beyond the horizons and hope for
the better and prosperous tomorrow. It is not an individual centric party but in itself is an institution that has
been speaking truth to power since its inception and striving hard to put an end to bloodshed, mayhem and
chaos that remained the hallmark of the state’s previous regimes,” party workers stated during their
meeting with the PDP president.
They were also unanimous in their assertions for more rigorous campaigns to foil the nefarious designs of
those elements who have been tasked to suppress the just voice-the party has been raising since its
foundation.
“Every since person in the state at present is aware of the ideology and the state of the PDP which include
talks with Pakistan and separatists, withdrawal of the cases against the stone pelters, implementation of the
ceasefire on ground and measures to be taken for successful dialogue and reconciliation. Such a stand is the
stand of the already violence torn people of the state. The party has once again proved that it is not going to
barter peoples aspirations for power. If need arises, it will not hesitance in rendering even more sacrifices for
the people and their well-being,” workers while speaking to the party president said.

 
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ACB registers case; Dy Mayor Imran, bank, govt officials in the soup

‘Bank gave Rs 36 cr loan on property already declared NPA’

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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.

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JK Bank implements RTI, CVC guidelines framework

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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.

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JK’s inspection dept doesn’t inspect

Cries manpower shortage with just 5 officers in place for 40 depts

Mudassir Kuloo

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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.

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