Corrupt officers, politicians in J&K feel ACB heat

Representative Image (File Image)

After the fall of PDP-BJP government and imposition of Central rule in Jammu and Kashmir last year in June, there has been a sharp rise in registration of corruption cases against higher officials involved in alleged malpractices.

Official records reveal that a total of 103 FIRs have been registered by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) since June 20, 2018 against officials, which include former chairman of J&K Bank, some chief engineers, superintendent and executive engineers, a few Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS) officers, deputy excise commissioner and senior officers of forest, health, rural development and other departments.

The number of FIRs registered in 2016 was 54 while 79 cases were registered in 2017 under Prevention of Corruption Act.
A senior officer of the ACB told DH that fresh cases were registered against those officers, who were of the opinion that they will never be touched after committing huge frauds due to their close proximity with the then ruling class of the erstwhile state.

The allegations against officers, which formed the basis for registration of FIRs, include misuse of official position, demand and acceptance of bribe, illegal appointments, embezzlement of funds, allowing of illegal constructions by obtaining pecuniary benefits, possessing disproportionate assets, tampering of official records, facilitating encroachment of government land, use of sub-standard construction material, vesting of ownership rights of land illegally and forgery etc.

“The noose is being tightened around corrupt officers in the administration, which was long overdue. We have clear instructions from the higher-ups to ensure that investigation into all these cases as well as other pending FIRs is completed as expeditiously as possible so as to pave the way for presentation of challans in the Anti-Corruption Courts and securing maximum conviction,” the officer said.

With Central Prevention of Corruption Act, which has stringent provisions becoming applicable in J&K Union Territory from, October 31, there is all likelihood that in the coming days more corrupt officers will fall in the ACB net.

Sources said in the coming months the focus of the ACB will also shift on local politicians, who have amassed huge wealth through illegal means. “Even the former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti – who all are presently under detention – will not be spared and they will be thoroughly investigated,” they revealed.

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