Srinagar, July 2: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president, Mehbooba Mufti, has said National Conference is the fountainhead of corruption in the state and it will only need an honest investigation of allegations against its top leadership to bring them to justice.
Addressing a number of meetings in Pahalgam constituency of Anantnag district Mehbooba referred to the chief minster’s insinuation against the PDP on corruption issue, and said it was amusing that chief minister (CM) is asking the people to invoke Right to Information (RTI) for ‘exposing the corrupt practices’ by some entrants into the PDP. “The CM is in control of entire investigation setup and he should be the last person to advise use of RTI because he can have the exposure and prosecution of any guilty person conducted whenever he likes,” she said.
Mehbooba said the Omar Abdullah government has a lot to answer on corruption issue and if he had not deactivated the institutions like State Information Commission (SIC) and State Accountability Commission (SAC) most of the skeletons would by now have tumbled out and some leading lights of the government could have met the fate of A Raja and Suresh Kalmadi.
She said the Cricket Scam against Dr Farooq Abdullah is an open and shut case and going by the documents in public domain the main characters should have been in jail as it would not need even a lengthy investigation. “The case, in fact, is reportedly awaiting prosecution and it is blocked only because Dr Abdullah’s son is the CM, and in the meanwhile he got himself re-elected as the president of Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association in questionable circumstances,” Mehbooba said.
The PDP chief said the CM would serve the state better by empowering institutions and encouraging people to use their right of information. She said: “Omar Abdullah evaded the first complaint against him in the SAC by running to the High Court in a typical expression of lack of faith in the SAC that the government itself constituted. He should have presented himself for the scrutiny by the SAC to provide dignity and respect to this institution rather than getting its proceedings stayed.”
Mehbooba said there is, of course, need and scope for using RTI Act for seeking information on how the first family of National Conference and most of the coalition ministers amassed assets beyond their known income. “It should be invoked to know the truth of Haji Yousuf’s death; the drug scandal; PHE scam; forest land grab; kickbacks in various projects; Toshkhana properties; construction of palatial residences and acquisition of vehicles of royal standards for the elected representatives. And the process involved in granting repeated extensions to characters like Mushtaq Peer who subverted the most credible process of Entrance Examination,” she said.
Mehbooba said the RTI should be used to know the reasons and background of the 400 blue-eyed officials who were granted extensions in Omar Abdullah’s tenure and payment of salary from the government exchequer to political appointees whose services have only been utilized for abusing the opposition while occupying plum positions in the secretariat.
Referring to the reported opening of a new shooting range in Shopian, Mehbooba said if this has been done in lieu of Tosmaidan, it would be no solution to the problem. She said the Prime Minister must address this issue very seriously and considering the ecological fragility of Kashmir, its dependence on tourism and the land crunch here such operations should be reduced to the minimum.
Mehbooba reminded the chief minister that after the Shopian episode in 2009 Omar Abdullah was allowed to hold the public meeting in the area only on his promise that the existing camp would be shifted from there. While that never happened insult has been added to the injury with the starting of shooting exercise there as per the news reports, she added.
The senior party leader, Rafi Ahmad Mir, MLA, was also present on the occasion.