Srinagar, Mar 27: The ruling party Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart Haseeb Ahmad Drabu has landed in a fresh controversy following it was revealed that he is holding ‘office of profit’ without mentioning before Chief Election Commissioner while filing the nomination papers.
Pertinently, Drabu was earlier sacked from state cabinet over his controversial remarks.
According to the information Kashmir News Bureau (KNB) received from reliable sources here the former Finance Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and incumbent Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Dr Haseeb Drabu from Rajpura Constituency holds the position of ‘Director’ at Kahnov Realty Private Limited, registered on 07 July 2011 contrary to the constitutional law that the representatives cannot hold an office of profit under section 9 (A) of the Representation of People Act and Article 191 (1)(A) of the Constitution.
The irony is not limited to holding of the Executive post in a profitable company, the Drabu has not even mentioned the company (a source of income) in his nomination form/affidavit.
A document of the company- ‘Kahnov Realty Private Limited’ which lies with KNB reveals that Drabu holds the shares of 5000, while his spouse holds 1000 and besides a journalist also holds 4000 shares.
Surprisingly, despite holding an executive post in a profitable company, Drabu was interestingly chosen as state’s finance minister for two times led by Late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and his successor and current Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
Pertinently, in 2006, Indian National Congress President and a Member of Parliament Sonia Gandhi resigned several posts under pressure from the political opposition who asserted that the posts were ‘offices of profit’ and thus unlawful. Jaya Bachchan was disqualified from the Rajya Sabha, while she was also chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh Film Development Federation. Election Commission of India in the Bachchan case held that any post, even if held in an advisory capacity, is an office of profit.
Earlier this month Haseeb Drabu was sacked from state cabinet, after his remark that Kashmir is “not a political issue” triggered a huge controversy. Mr. Drabu was the key channel of communication between the PDP and the BJP and was instrumental in helping the alliance survive the rocky patches since it was cobbled out in 2015.
Sources state that there are more reasons behind his ouster including to implement Centre’s controversial Goods and Services Tax (GST) which otherwise enjoys special status” by virtue of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and this enraged the valleyites and business community out here.
Not only this, Drabu was under scrutiny for having allegedly flexed the rules to exempt some private firms from the new tax regime. In this regard, a leading Mumbai-based firm was given a tax exemption for construction of a hydro-electric project in central Kashmir. Sources state Chief Minister Mehbooba was already unhappy over relaxations for firms outside the state, which have cost Jammu and Kashmir’s own exchequer. (KNB)