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SAC Chairman R.P. Sethi resigns
Jammu, May 6
The State Accountability Commission (SAC), which was established in Jammu and Kashmir to check corruption in high places, has suffered a jolt within eight months of its existence as its Chairman, Mr Justice R.P. Sethi, resigned today in protest against “interference” by the state government in the functioning of the commission.

Militants kill 2, lob grenade in house
Srinagar, May 6
In two separate incidents, militants in Jammu and Kashmir shot dead a person and hurled a grenade inside a house in Baramulla district injuring a woman, official sources said here today.

Administrative shuffle on cards
Jammu, May 6
A major reshuffle in the Administration is on the cards next week when the Secretariat reopens at the summer Capital of Srinagar on Monday.


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SAC Chairman R.P. Sethi resigns
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Jammu, May 6
The State Accountability Commission (SAC), which was established in Jammu and Kashmir to check corruption in high places, has suffered a jolt within eight months of its existence as its Chairman, Mr Justice R.P. Sethi, resigned today in protest against “interference” by the state government in the functioning of the commission.

It is learnt that Mr Justice Sethi resigned following efforts of the state government to scuttle the functioning of the SAC that was established during the regime of Mufti Sayeed.

Mr Justice Sethi was reportedly annoyed over the government interference in the functioning of the commission on various issues.

However, what came as the flash point was that although Mr Justice Sethi had met Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad recently and apprised him on April 3 in writing about the lack of infrastructure for the two newly appointed members. This caused the SAC to become non-functional since April 15, but no positive response came from the government. He also apprised the Chief Secretary of the shortage of staff and other infrastructure in writing.

Sources in the SAC said the authorities concerned started pulling the strings of the commission ever since Mr Justice Sethi issued notices to Cabinet Minister Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed, who is also the state Congress chief, in an alleged case of the misuse of power when he was holding the portfolio of rural development in the Mufti Sayeed government.

They said a section of politicians and bureaucracy did not relish the SAC issuing notices to the Chief Secretary, Mr Vijay Bakaya, for allegedly diverting about Rs 18 lakh from the security related expenditure for constructing the compound wall of his private residence. However, a lesser amount was reportedly spent on the work after the SAC came into the picture.

The latest provocation that is learnt to have come for Mr Justice Sethi was that in “violation” of Section 31 of the Act, the government ordered that the SAC would move to Srinagar from here for summer months like other departments. This was reportedly considered as an encroachment on the discretion of the commission and Mr Justice Sethi is learnt to have ordered that the SAC would not be comply with the government order.

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Militants kill 2, lob grenade in house

Srinagar, May 6
In two separate incidents, militants in Jammu and Kashmir shot dead a person and hurled a grenade inside a house in Baramulla district injuring a woman, official sources said here today. Militants barged into the house of Gowhar Altaf Rafiqi at Pazalpora-Bandipora, 55 km from here, last night and pumped bullets into him, killing him on the spot, the sources said.

They said the motive behind the murder was not known.

Meanwhile, a woman Muneera Begum was critically injured when militants threw a grenade inside her house through a window at Tarzoo-Sopore, 55 km from here, last night. The victim was rushed to hospital in a critical condition. No militant outfit has claimed responsibility for the incidents so far.

JAMMU: Militants today killed a village defence committee (VDC) member and injured another in separate incidents in Udhampur and Poonch districts of Jammu and Kashmir.

The security forces also apprehended two workers of a militant group in Doda district last night, official sources said today.

Militants abducted Shakeel Ahmed, a VDC member, from the Sumber area of Udhampur late last night, they said, adding that the militants slit the throat of Ahmed and threw the body on the outskirts of the village early this morning.

In another incident, a group of militants barged into the house of one Mohd Arif at Salwa village in Poonch district last night and asked him to provide them water, they said. Then, they asked him to lead them to the main road and but was shot at and injured, they added. Arif was admitted to a sub-district hospital at Mendhar.

In the Sungal area of Doda, two workers of a militant group were taken into custody by security forces and handed over to the police, they added.

In Kishtwar tehsil in Doda district top militants of pro-Pakistan Harkat-ul-Jehad-i-Islami outfit today surrendered with arms and ammunition before the security forces, a senior police official said here. —PTI

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Administrative shuffle on cards

Jammu, May 6
A major reshuffle in the Administration is on the cards next week when the Secretariat reopens at the summer Capital of Srinagar on Monday. Besides choosing a new Chief Secretary in place of Mr Vijay Bakaya, whose two-month extension expires at the end of this month, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad is expected to order the first overhaul of the administrative machinery after he took over six months ago.

There are indications that Mr Azad might give another extension of one month to Mr Bakaya. The name of Mr C.Phonsog, Financial Commissioner, was in circulation for the top slot in the administration as so far no one from the Ladakh region has held the post of Chief Secretary. However, official circles point out that Mr Azad has suddenly developed a liking for another officer for the post.

With Mr M.C.Mathur proceeding on Central deputation, the post of Financial Commissioner, Home, is falling vacant. The name of Mr B.R.Singh is also in circulation for being brought back on some important post in the Secretariat. —TNS

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