Recruitment scam involving Speakers:

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HC pulls up Vigilance for laxity

Srinagar: Justice Tashi Rabstan of J&K High Court (Jammu Wing) Friday expressed displeasure over the silence of the Vigilance organisation in not proceeding further in the infamous recruitment scam in which three formers speakers are allegedly involved.

Vigilance had filed a status report on July, 6, 2015 in the State High Court establishing 37 illegal/backdoor appointments made by three former Speakers of J&K Legislative Assembly—28 by Mohd. Akbar Lone, 5 by Tara Chand and 4 by Mubarak Gul. In the much publicized writ petition filed by a

Social activist, Prof S.K.Bhalla, via a writ-petition had demanded that Vigilance registered an FIR against those involved in the recruitment fraud.

Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocates Rahul Raina and Suraj Singh appearing for the petitioner drew the attention of the court to the detailed order passed by the State High Court on April, 16, 2015 when the court had disagreed with the closure report of the SVO and had formulated two points for preliminary enquiry into the matter particularly to ascertain as to the manner in which each one of the 37 posts were filled up and whether the posts were filled up as per the procedure prescribed under applicable rules.

Advocate Ahmed further submitted that pursuant to the aforesaid order, the State Vigilance Organization filed a detailed status report on July, 6, 2015 wherein the SVO established that the three Former Speakers namely Mohd. Akbar Lone, Tara Chand and Mubarak Gul resorted to illegal/backdoor appointments of 37 persons against various newly created vacancies in the Legislative Assembly Secretariat.

Advocate S.S. Ahmed submitted that there is no headway in the matter after July, 6, 2015 and the matter is gathering dust in the SVO as the accused in the scam are highly influential political personalities of the State and the SVO is under pressure not to proceed against the big fish. 

He further submitted that as per the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act read with Criminal Procedure Code and Vigilance Manual the SVO should have immediately lodged an FIR under Section 5(2) Prevention of Corruption Act against the high profile accused but for no valid reasons the matter was kept pending on the plea that the court is seized of the matter.    

Advocate Ahmed further submitted that the SVO owes an explanation to the Court as to what steps were taken in the matter particularly when the preliminary enquiry was completed in July, 2015 establishing prima facie an employment racket in the Assembly Secretariat. He further submitted that the Apex Court has already held that action should be taken against those police officers who do not register FIR particularly when the complaint discloses commission of a cognizable offence. He further submitted that preliminary enquiry was completed in first week of July, 2015 and almost four months have elapsed and the SVO did not move further solely for the reason that the accused are former Speakers and enjoy political patronage.

After considering the submissions of Advocate S.S. Ahmed, Justice Tashi Rabstan in the open court pulled up State Vigilance Organization and put a specific query to AAG P.C. Sharma as to what action was initiated by the SVO after filing the status report on July, 6, 2015 wherein the allegations of illegal/backdoor appointments in the Assembly Secretariat were prima facie established by the SVO. AAG P.C. Sharma appearing for SVO submitted that the SVO will proceed strictly as per Vigilance manual and will place the action taken before the court.

Upon this Justice Tashi Rabstan directed AAG P.C. Sharma appearing for State Vigilance Organization to file Action Taken Report (ATR) indicating the steps taken by the SVO particularly after July, 6, 2015 when status report establishing recruitment scam in Legislative Assembly was filed in the State High Court

Keeping in view the public interest involved in the matter Justice Tashi Rabstan directed the Registry to list this petition for further proceedings on November, 27 this month.

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