Appointments in J&K Bank: ACB asks Mehbooba to explain

Jammu and Kashmir Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), which is probing alleged scams in J&K Bank, has asked the former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, to explain whether any backdoor appointments were made during her tenure.

Senior Superintendent of Police, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has issued a notice to the former chief minister asking her whether she had verbally or otherwise endorsed the recommendations made by some ministers for appointments in J&K Bank.

“During the course of investigations of case FIR No. 10/2019 police station ACBK dated 08/06/2019, it has surfaced that some appointments were made by chairman JK Bank on references of recommendation of few ministers,” reads the ACB notice to Mehbooba issued on Saturday.

“It may please be clarified that whether such references had your endorsement, verbal or otherwise, for appointments in J&K Bank,” notice adds.

Mehbooba posted the notice on Twitter, saying she was not surprised by the development. “Not surprised to receive a letter from the Anti-Corruption Bureau. Concerted efforts are being made to browbeat mainstream leaders & thwart potential efforts for a collective response. I am too small an entity vis-a-vis the cause that unites us today. Such tactics won’t work,” she wrote.

On July 22, the ACB registered a case against the former J&K Bank chairman Parvez Ahmed Nengroo for ‘criminal misconduct’ under J&K Prevention of Corruption Act 2006. Earlier on 8 June, the Governor’s administration removed Nengroo from the post of Chairman-cum-Managing Director of the J&K Bank. Nengroo was facing charges of favoritism and corruption and last year, Governor Satya Pal Malik had exposed a backdoor appointment scam during the People’s Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janata Party government.

 He had said had said that the selection list of 528 candidates in the Bank was changed to appoint political workers of the parties. There are allegations that illegal and fraudulent appointments were made in the Bank with political patronage when the Mehbooba led PDP-BJP alliance was in power from 2016 to 2018.

The ACB was constituted after the Governor SP Malik led State Administrative Council. The SAC  gave powers to the bureau “to tackle and eradicate corruption in the state in a more effective and meaningful manner.”

The Governor has been reiterating that “Anti-Corruption Bureau won’t spare anyone including those belonging to big political parties.”

Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam earlier stated that the ACB has been created to overcome shortcomings and do away with the multiplicity of roles in the existing anti-corruption mechanism in the state.