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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Army payoff row: J-K minister offers to stand probe

Peerzada Ashiq , Hindustan Times   Srinagar, September 25, 2013
First Published: 18:11 IST(25/9/2013) | Last Updated: 23:35 IST(25/9/2013)

Breaking his silence, state agriculture minister Ghulam Hassan Mir, who is facing allegations of taking Rs. 1.19 crore to topple Omar Abdullah’s government in 2010, on Wednesday offered to face a probe.
 
“I offer myself to an open and time-bound probe to look into the allegations. If a fair probe is held and truth comes to the fore, I would stand vindicated,” said Mir.
 
Mir is at the centre of a political storm, triggered by a New Delhi-based newspaper’s recent report, that former retired army chief VK Singh allegedly paid Rs. 1.19 crore to Mir during the 2010 street uprising in the Valley to topple the government. The newspaper was quoting from an army’s internal inquiry instituted into alleged misuse of Technical Services Division created by Singh during his tenure.
 
The disclosures have shaken the establishment in the state of which Mir is an important figure. Mir, who has local Congress leaders’ sympathy and support, continues to be a state cabinet minister of Omar Abdullah government.
 
Mir, who heads Democratic Nationalist Party, said the allegations made against him are “politically motivated and absolutely false”.
 
“I have been elected and have been a minister three times since 1984. No institution or agency can create popularity. I am neither a man of agencies nor any of that institution,” he said.
 
Stating that he stands for democracy and strengthening of democratic institutions, Mir said, “Through a fair probe, everybody will come to know that I am relying on power and support of people.”
 
Meanwhile senior ruling National Conference leader and state rural minister Ali Muhammad Sagar has expressed suspicion over the killings of 2010. Around 113 people were killed in five-month long agitation.
 
“If the revelations made during the army inquiry are true, then one has to investigate the wide range of killings that took place in 2010. The agitation started with the killing of three civilians in Machil (by the army). It was followed by killings of civilians in Srinagar. I suspect that there killings were carried out to destabilise the Omar Abdullah government,” he alleged.

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