Vigilance sleuths probing recruitment Kashmir scam

Jammu and Kashmir vigilance sleuths are investigating a recruitment scam in Bandipora Municipal Committee.

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir vigilance
sleuths are investigating a recruitment scam in Bandipora
Municipal Committee in which at least 160 people are alleged
to have been employed under political influence.

According to records of the Municipal Committee,
recruitment norms like calling for applications and holding
interviews for various posts were not adhered to. The
politicians whose names figured in the recruitment process
include Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, Legislative Assembly
Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone and Opposition PDP MLA from
Bandipora Nizamuddin Bhat.

Ironically, most of the appointment orders were issued in
September 2009, less than six months before the five-year term
of the Committee was to expire in March 2010.

Probably unaware of the implications, some of the orders
of recruitment issued by then president of the Municipal
Committee explicitly mentions that the appointment is done on
the desire of a particular politician.

"As desired by honourable Speaker of the J&K Legislative
Assembly and in view of the dire need for proper watch and
ward of plantation beats of Municipal Committee Bandipora,
Javed Ahmad Yatoo is hereby temporarily appointed as
plantation watcher in the minimum pay scale (4440-7440+1300)
plus other usual allowance as admissible under rules from time
to time," reads an order dated August 21, 2009.

Similar orders have been passed in which appointment was
made on the recommendation of Tara Chand and in at least one
case, of Bhat.

While the appointments were made on need basis, some of
the appointees hailed from as far as Jammu region - more than
350 km from the place of their work.

Amit Sharma, a resident of Sainik Colony in Jammu, was
appointed as Works Supervisor. His appointment was based on a
"resolution passed by the elected council" but the order was
silent on whether the appointment was on temporary or
permanent basis.

More than a dozen orders were passed by the then
executive officer of the Municipal Committee Abdul Rashid
Shah, appointing over 50 casual labourers "on need basis" on a
consolidated monthly pay of Rs 3,300 each.

The casual labourers were hired in spite of a ban imposed
by the state government on such appointments.

Shah said there was nothing wrong with the appointments
made by the Municipal Committee or his person.

"The Committee is an autonomous body and is exempt from
referring the appointments to the recruitment bodies. The
persons I have appointed were not permanent and only on
temporary basis."

Shah, however, said the issue is being investigated by
the State Vigilance Organisation for some time now.

"It is not just the Bandipora Municipal Committee but 48
Committees have done the same," he claimed.