The State Vigilance Commission now seems to be a favorite destination for J&K's bureaucrats, with as many as four administrative secretaries throwing the hat in the ring to become a part of the anti-graft body.
Details gathered by Greater Kashmir from different departments reveal that four administrative secretaries—two senior IAS officers and one each from KAS and Legal Gazetted Service—have joined the race for the coveted positions of Vigilance Commissioners in the SVC.
The General Administration Department had last month sought nominations for appointment of Chief Vigilance Commissioner and two Vigilance Commissioners. While CVC Kuldeep Khoda and Vigilance Commissioner R K Jerath completed their term last month, another member of the Commission, Gous-ul-Nissa Jeelani is attaining superannuation this month.
In response to the GAD notice, several departments have sent nominations for appointment of officers as CVC and VCs.
The administrative secretaries in the fray include Muhammad Afzal Bhat (Commissioner/Secretary, Forests), Muhammad Ashraf Mir (Commissioner/Secretary, Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation department), Gazanffar Hussain (Commissioner/ Secretary, Labour & Employment department) and Muhammad Hussain Malik (Secretary, Horticulture department).
All the four officers are attaining superannuation in next 12 months, according to sources.
Afzal, who has also served as administrative secretary of Revenue and Cooperative departments, Chairperson Service Selection Board and Director Urban Local Bodies, is attaining superannuation on March 31, 2018.
Muhammad Ashraf, who has handled contentious legal matters as administrative secretary of Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Justice department, would hang up his boots on January 30, 2018.
Gazzanfar Hussain would retire in April this year. Before being assigned a low-key posting by the Mehbooba Mufti-led Government last year, Gazzanfar has held plum positions previously and has served as administrative Secretary of General Administration Department and Health & Medical Education department as well.
Muhammad Hussain Malik, the second KAS officer after Naeem Akther (bureaucrat-turned-politician) appointed as administrative secretary to Government, is retiring in September this year.
Akther, who had refused induction in the IAS, was the first KAS officer appointed as administrative secretary to the Government.
During the PDP-Congress rule, Akther was administrative secretary of Tourism department and GAD.
According to sources, R K Verma, who was Special Secretary to former Chief Secretary Madhav Lal and Director Tourism Jammu, has also applied for the assignment.
This newspaper has also learnt that State Law department has sent nomination of former Principal and District Sessions judge, Kaneez Fatima, for the post. Fatima is the wife of former Chief Secretary Muhammad Iqbal Khanday.
From Jammu & Kashmir Police, four officers—Alok Puri (IGP Crime), Yoginder Kaul (former IG), Nissar Ahmad (DIG-Doda-Kishtwar-Ramban range) and Ali Muhammad (former DIG) have applied for the positions.
Experienced in handling corruption-related cases, Alok Puri has served as IG and SSP in Vigilance Organization for more than six years. He would retire in February next year.
Yoginder Kaul, who retired last month, was IG Human Rights Commission, IG IRP and IG Home Guards, Civil Defence and SDRF.
Nissar Ahmad is attaining superannuation in June this year, while Ali Muhammad has already retired.
Senior officers told this newspaper that these officers would be considered for the posts of Vigilance Commissioners.
"For the post of Chief Vigilance Commissioner, the Government is likely to shortlist the officers of CS and DGP rank," they said.
Pertinently, the CVC and VCs are appointed by Governor on recommendations of a high-powered panel headed by Chief Minister.
Leader of the opposition in the Legislative Assembly, a senior Minister to be nominated by the Chief Minister and Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs are members of the selection panel.