J&K govt files defamation case against PDP leaders

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir government today filed a defamation case against two opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders, including an MLA, for accusing Chief Minister Omar Abdullah of receiving kickbacks in allotting Rattle Power project.

Public Prosecutor Abdul Aziz Teli filed the case against PDP MLA from Bandipora Nizamuddin Bhat and chief spokesperson of the party Nayeem Akhtar before Principal District and Sessions Judge Bansi Lal Bhat here.

The prosecution has sought trial of the PDP leaders under Sections 499 (defamation) and 500 of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), read with Section 198-B of Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Procedure Code for levelling "false and baseless" accusations against Omar that he received kickbacks to the tune of Rs 500 crore.

The judge issued notices to the PDP leaders.

On August 25, Bhat alleged that "in the allotment of Rattle power project, the Chief Minister is guilty of a huge kickback from the party to which it has been allotted on BOOT basis. About Rs 500 crores have been paid to the Chief Minister."

Bhat, who was accompanied by Akhtar and several other MLAs of the party at the press conference, said the evidence of the Chief Minister having received the money will come to fore once an inquiry into the bidding process is initiated.

Although Omar chose not to respond to the allegations himself, Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather said the Chief Minister decided to file criminal and civil cases against the PDP leaders.

The Chief Minister later sent a legal notice to Bhat and Akhtar saying they should give a public apology and withdraw accusations within seven days, failing which legal action would be taken against them.

The PDP leaders chose not to apologise and will now face the courts.

Meanwhile, another case has been filed in the same court against US-based cardiologist of Kashmir origin Fayaz Shawl for levelling charges of corruption against Minister of state for Urban Development Nasir Aslam Wani.

Hawl, who wanted to set up a heart hospital on the banks of Dal Lake in Nishat area of the city, had accused Wani, a close confidant of the Chief Minister, of demanding illegal gratifications for granting permission to his project.

Wani had sent a legal notice to the doctor, who pledged to donate nearly Rs 65 crore to SKIMS hospital Soura here after shelving his heart hospital project, demanding an apology from the cardiologist.