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Posted at: Jul 22, 2019, 6:49 AM; last updated: Jul 22, 2019, 6:49 AM (IST)‘IRREGULAR’ APPOINTMENTS

Crime Branch questions ex-minister

Crime Branch questions ex-minister
Naeem Akhtar

Majid Jahangir

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, July 21

Trouble is mounting for senior PDP leader Naeem Akhtar after the Jammu and Kashmir Crime Branch questioned him for alleged irregularities in J&K Projects Construction Corporation Limited during his tenure as Road and Building Minister.

In April, the Crime Branch had registered a case against the then chairman of the JKPCC Akhtar (the then minister), the Board of Directors and officials of the JKPCC for appointing the then managing director (MD) Vikar Mustafa Shunthoo in gross violation of the laid-down rules.

“They (Crime Branch officials) asked questions and I cooperated,” Akhtar said without giving further details. The former minister, also a close aide of former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, was questioned on Friday at his residence.

The Governor’s administration had last year received complaints about large-scale corruption and illegal appointments in the JKPCC, a public sector undertaking established in 1965, and after which the government-appointed a “fact-finding committee” to look into all these allegations.

According to a senior Crime Branch official, the committee found the appointment of the then managing director (MD) of the JKPCC Vikar Shunthoo “illegal and in gross violation of the laid-down rules” after which a case was registered against him and investigation was taken up.

“The inquiry committee had observed that the original orders issued by the Chairman (Akhtar), the agenda items placed before the Board of Directors and the final order issued by the Company Secretary of the JKPCC are incongruent to each other and beyond their competence. In this way, the then chairman, the Board of Directors and officials of the JKPCC illegally appointed the MD by the abuse of their official position and showered undue benefits on the beneficiary, causing wrongful gain to him. The acts of omission and commission on part of the accused persons prima facie disclosed the commission of offences under the corruption Act. Accordingly, a case was registered,” the official said.

Shunthoo was made to look after the post of the MD in 2018 as he was the “senior-most” engineer in the corporation.

“The decision of making Shunthoo as caretaker MD was later ratified by the board of directors of the JKPCC,” a senior official said. BJP leader and former vice-chairman of the JKPCC Khalid Jehangir had last year accused Akhtar of allegedly allotting prestigious projects to his “blue-eyed persons on verbal directions”.

Case registered in April  

  • In April, the Crime Branch had registered a case against the then chairman of the JKPCC Akhtar (the then minister), the Board of Directors and officials of the JKPCC for appointing the then managing director (MD) Vikar Mustafa Shunthoo in gross violation of the laid-down rules
  • The Governor’s administration had last year received complaints about large-scale corruption and illegal appointments in the JKPCC, a public sector undertaking established in 1965

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