Services of 63 tainted officials, including senior bureaucrats, were terminated by the Jammu and Kashmir government on Wednesday to weed out the deadwood amid allegations of letting off the bigwigs and tainted police officials.
"The decision to dispense with the services of these officials is a message to all. It's a warning shot and more will follow. There was no pick and choose process in the decision taken by a high-level committee headed by the chief secretary," said state education minister and government spokesman Naeem Akhter.
Of 63 terminated officials, 25 were involved in trap cases by various anti-graft bodies, 11 were cases involving disproportionate assets and 27 were cases of misappropriation.
The terminated officials include three doctors, five Kashmir Administrative Services (KAS) officers, two chief engineers, a principal and a managing director from 14 departments of the state.
"Performance review of the civil servants would be a permanent and regular feature in administration. Services of the officials whose performance is not up to the mark or who have integrity issues would be dispensed with," warned Akhter.
In 2005, Transparency International, a non-governmental body, tagged Kashmir as second corrupt state in India.
Underlining that such exercise will be a regular process for those having more than 20 years of services, Akhter said, "This is a part of the larger process of infusing accountability and transparency in governance."
Ironically, except for five lower rung police officials, including a station house officer, no tainted police officer was found in the list.
"I agree vigilance system is not working properly. Conviction rate is low there. A proper process has to take place to terminate anyone's services. But no one is above law. Those who have committed misappropriations, law will catch up with them too," said Akhter in response to queries about not having any top police official in the list despite pending cases against many.
The minister said his government is committed to revive accountability commission to check corruption. "Two judges of high degree of integrity will be appointed for the same," he added.
Legislator Engineer Rashid described the list of tainted officials as incomplete. "Why no action is taken against corrupt politicians?" asked Rashid, an MLA from north Kashmir's Langate constituency.