Akbar Lone in soup, SVO confirms 37 illegal appointments

Jammu: In the much publicized writ petition filed by Social Activist      Prof. S.K. Bhalla seeking directions to the SVO to register an FIR against the then Speaker Muhammad Akbar Lone and Secretary J&K Legislative Assembly Muhammad Ramzan for making 37 illegal appointments in J&K Assembly Secretariat Friday took a new turn when the State Vigilance Organization (SVO) filed a detailed status report establishing 37 illegal appointments made by 3 Ex-Speakers namely Muhammad Akbar Lone, Mubarak Gul and Tara Chand.

When the petition came up for hearing on Friday, Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocates Rahul Raina and Irfaan Muhammad Khan appearing for the petitioner drew the attention of the court to the order dated April, 16, 2015 whereby Justice Janak Raj Kotwal of J&K High Court (Jammu Wing) had passed a detailed order rejecting the closure report of the SVO and had issued directions for conducting a preliminary enquiry into the matter after framing four important points in order to unearth the recruitment scam in the Assembly Secretariat. Advocate Ahmed further invited the attention of the Court to the detailed status report filed by the SVO on Friday pursuant to the directions of the Court dated April, 16, 2015 and requested the Court to issue formal directions to the SVO to lodge an FIR against the erring Ex-Speakers and the Secretary J&K Legislative Assembly for running a employment racket.

Justice Bansi Lal Bhat of J&K High Court after considering the submissions of Advocate S.S. Ahmed observed in the open court that since there is paucity of time today and matter needs considerable time because the entire status report is to be read and looking into the seriousness of the matter, Justice Bansi Lal Bhat after taking the status report on record issued directions to the Registry to list this petition for consideration in the week commencing 3rd August, 2015.

In the status report the SVO has submitted that so far as 37 appointments against the newly created posts are concerned the same have been made during the tenures of then Speakers viz Mohammad Akbar Lone, Tara Chand and Mubarak Gul. Out of these 37 appointments, 28 appointments were made by then Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone, 05 appointments by then Speaker Tara Chand and 04 appointments by then Speaker Mubarak Gul. The status report further says that the scrutiny of record received from Assembly Secretariat revealed that no copy of any advertisement notification regarding 37 posts has been issued by Assembly Secretariat for proper recruitment/selection process. In reply the Deputy Secretary to Speaker has submitted that in absence of any particular mode of recruitment the Speakers from time to time have been following the precedence adopted by the Former Speakers and affected the appointments by directly accepting the applications from the candidates.

In the status report it is further submitted   that regarding the manner in which 37 posts were filled it is replied that 13 posts with higher pay scale other than Class-IV have been filled up by making promotions of the staff members in their respective feeding channels and rest of the posts were filled by direct recruitment of some Class-IV employees whose applications were received by the competent authority viz  Speakers directly.

The SVO in its probe established that due procedure of law has not been followed in making 37 appointments and only precedences have been relied upon and equal opportunity was denied to all the eligible candidates. Not only this no proper advertisement inviting applications was ever issued while filling 37 posts and no selection process was initiated and appointments were made directly in flagrant violation of law.

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