ACB cracks whip against high profile officials in J&K

ACB cracks whip against high profile officials in J&K

With Centre finally deciding to crack a whip against corrupt practices in Jammu and Kashmir, state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has registered 35 FIRs against high profile ‘corrupt’ officials and businessmen in first seven months of this year.

The FIRs range from high profile cases involving former Chairman of J&K Bank to trapping officials, red-handed taking bribe. Recently the ACB registered FIR No. 14/2019- ACBSGR against Parvez Ahmad then chairman J&K Bank on the charges of “misusing his official position.”

Similarly, in another high-profile case involving the business group of incumbent deputy mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, the ACB registered an FIR No. 3/2019 for “illegal appropriation of subsidy with inflated project cost for establishing CA storage at Lassipora, Pulwama.”

In other high-profile cases of corruption where FIRs have been registered former Directors, Managing Directors, Executive Engineers, block development officers (BDOs), chief medical officers (CMOs) and senior town planners, are allegedly involved.

“In most of these cases, investigation is in final stage. Governor’s administration has entrusted the ACB with the job of wiping out corrupt elements from the system,” a senior ACB official told DH

On the progress of cases against J&K Bank chairman, he said, “So far two FIRs have been registered and all the angles are being looked into before filing a fool-proof charge sheet. The case will be taken to its logical conclusion.”

The ACB was constituted in 2018 after governor led State Administrative Council (SAC) gave powers to it “to tackle and eradicate corruption in the state in a more effective and meaningful manner.”

Though, mis-governance, nepotism and corruption, which has caused severe resentment among the Kashmiri youth, is decades old problem, in recent years, instances of brazen corruption had reached to alarming proportions. In 2017, a think-tank in its survey had revealed that people in J&K were among the worst sufferers of corruption in accessing public services.

The Centre for Media Studies (CMS) in its annual corruption study – CMS India Corruption Study 2017- had placed J&K along with Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh as most corrupt among 20 surveyed states. The study had revealed that more than 33 per cent respondents stated that then state government was not ‘committed at all’ towards reducing corruption in public services.

Governor Satya Pal Malik has been reiterating that the ACB “won’t spare anyone including politicians, if found involved in corrupt practices.” “Corruption is deep-seated in Kashmir. The amount of money Kashmir had, if that would have been properly utilised, then Kashmir would have become golden Kashmir,” he said last year immediately after taking over as governor of the state.