Soz’s concern on graft misplaced?
Action Awaited Against ‘Tainted’ Congress Ministers
Srinagar, Sep 20: While the Pradesh Congress Committee chief Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz, of late, seems to be worried about corruption in Jammu and Kashmir—where Congress is an alliance partner—he has come in the line of criticism for “not beginning the charity at home.”
Soz’s Tuesday’s statement against corruption, taken with interest in political and apolitical circles in Jammu and Kashmir, has made little impact though. And that is primarily in the backdrop of corruption charges against some of the Congress ministers, including a few sitting ones, which are allegedly being overlooked by the party.
“There are no two opinions that corruption in J&K is widespread. But who’s responsible for this? Why is Soz bailing out Congress ministers against whom corruption cases are pending in the State Accountability Commission?” asked a cabinet minister, insisting not to be named. “There are a number of departments which are manned by ministers from Congress. Instances of corruption have time and again been reported from these departments. Why isn’t Congress acting on those reports? Soz must not forget that Congress is a coalition partner in Jammu and Kashmir and if corruption exists, one of the fingers is certainly pointing towards his party?”
Soz’s jerky statement has taken political circles by surprise. “If Prof Soz is really concerned about corruption, he must first pitch for action against the tainted Congress ministers,” the cabinet minister said. Pertinently, the corruption fact-file in J&K reveals that complaint in the State Accountability Commission [SAC] is pending against two sitting cabinet ministers from Congress. One of them is the Minister for Education, Peerzada Muhammad Sayeed who is facing charges of misappropriating government funds meant for electrification of Panchayat Ghars during his stint as minister in the former PDP-Congress coalition government in J&K. Another Congress minister is under probe for allegedly allotting contracts to various contractors for grinding of wheat for one year and later extending the benefit to only one contractor while denying benefit to others, thus misusing his official position. There is also a complaint against a former deputy chief minister from Congress that he along with others made backdoor appointments at large scale. Besides, every now and then complaints of corruption surface in the School Education Department, particularly in the flagship Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, which is manned by the minister from Congress.
“The Congress has no moral right to voice concern over corruption when its own ministers are tainted,” says a senior government officer. “If the party is so worried about corruption in the state, it must ensure removal of its tainted ministers till they come clean from enquiries. That is the only way to demonstrate seriousness in weeding out corruption from the state.”
Soz’s statement has also put a spotlight on the State Information Commission which is waiting for two commissioners for the past many years. While National Conference has been accused of delaying the appointment of the two commissioners and rendering the Right to Information Act ineffective, the Congress has drawn flak for “not-cooperating” in the SIC appointments.
Pertinently, Soz had on Tuesday supported the concern of Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on growing menace of corruption in the state,
Soz said that bribery has assumed alarming proportions in Jammu and Kashmir making the lives of people miserable.
“I heartily welcome the concern shown by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq regarding growing menace of corruption in the State,” Soz had said in a statement.
He also stressed the need for ensuring safety and respect to journalists and RTI activists who stand sensitized on the issue of corruption.
Soz said it is now a common knowledge that corruption in the State has assumed very huge proportions and the common man’s life has become miserable. “It is so tragic that while an overwhelming majority wants to lead a simple and dignified life, the corrupt elements are on the prowl to make common people’s life difficult,” he had said and added that it was a matter of relief that Mirwaiz has certain measures in his view to organize a campaign against corruption.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 20 Sep 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 20 Sep 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 21 Sep 2011 00:00:00 IST
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