Omar, Mehbooba Call out J&K Admin After Allegations of Corruption, Harassment by IAS Officer
Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti. Image Courtesy: PTI
Srinagar: Former chief ministers of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday called for a probe into the allegations of a senior administrative officer who filed a complaint against the top administrative officials, including the Union territory's Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.
In a complaint to the National Commission for Schedule Castes (NCSC), Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Ashok Kumar Parmar said he faced "harassment, intimidation and threats" from the top administration. The officer of the 1992 batch of Jammu and Kashmir cadre (AGMUT:1992) said he was subjected to "inappropriate, premature and frequent transfers and postings in violation of transfer policy due to their bias and prejudice against him for being a Schedule Caste."
A native of Bharuch district of Gujarat, Parmar belongs to a marginalised community. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Bureau of Public Enterprises in the Government of J&K.
In his letter, Parmar said he is apprehensive that the J&K administration may go to any extent to "damage" his reputation and career by taking any "arbitrary" actions against the officer and implicating him in false cases with the help of anonymous complainants.
The officer said that he faced the harassment after he pointed out many financial irregularities and acts of omission and commission of the chief secretary, Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar, who is the advisor to LG of UT of J&K and other top officials, including Shaleen Kabra (IAS-92) from the Jal Shakti Department in the implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM).
Parmar added that he had also informed the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Jal Shakti and Prime Minister's Office (PMO) that Mehta, Bhatnagar and Kabra have given out incorrect figures regarding the implementation of the JJM in J&K. JJM was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15, 2019, with an objective to provide every rural household with tap water connection by 2024.
Following the officer's alleged expose, the senior political leadership of Jammu and Kashmir slammed the UT government for misgovernment, adding that the officer's alleged claims support the allegations widespread in the region.
"Allegations about corruption at the highest level in J&K have finally found feet to stand upon. When an IAS officer confirms the rot in the system at the very top, it indicates the grave risks he's taken by exposing them. Instead of punishing culprits responsible for bungling thousands of 3000 crores in the Jal Jeevan scheme, an upright officer is made to suffer," People's Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah argued that the allegations made by Parmar are serious enough for an investigation into the matter; additionally, he took a dig at the ruling dispensation for being indifferent.
"The allegations are serious enough to warrant an impartial investigation, but we know that will never happen. Sadly, the news media has completely ignored this story. They are being kept too busy chasing Ms World & other fluff stories. The lure of advertising rupees & the fear of summons to police stations have effectively silenced what was once a vibrant free(ish?) press in J&K," he wrote.
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