The state law department on Thursday accorded sanction for prosecution of former minister Abdul Gani Vakil for levelling "malicious and defamatory" charges against his own party colleague and state irrigation and public health engineering minister Taj Mohiuddin.
"After being satisfied with the material available, I accord sanction for prosecution of ex-minister Abdul Gani Vakil for making false, malicious and defamatory allegations in various local newspapers against Taj Mohiuddin," said GH Tantray, secretary, state law department.
However, Vakil told the Hindustan Times he did not receive the law department's notification.
This is first time ever in the state that any minister has invoked clauses of Section 198-B of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which provides Protection to President and ministers in case of false allegations of corruption, against his own colleague.
A public wrangling between Mohiuddin and Vakil surfaced in January this year when latter accused the minister of failing to stop "scams and financial mismanagement in departments coming under him".
"You had chosen to maintain a criminal silence which speaks of your irresponsive attitude and lack of will to fight corrupt practices rampant in your department," wrote Vakil in a letter to Mohiuddin. The letter was leaked to the media. Vakil also wrote to Congress president Sonia Gandhi about the matter.
"I approached to the chief minister's office in February to take action in the wake of false allegations by Vakil. It's after six months of investigations that all the allegations were found baseless," Mohiuddin told the Hindustan Times.
"You cannot accuse a minister of corruption, when the charges are completely false and malicious," said Mohiuddin.
The Congress minister with a cabinet berth in the Omar Abdullah's government, said, "I had to take legal course. Otherwise, credibility of the government was at stake. No one should go public with such wild allegations. I cannot allow this."
"I have not made any defamatory remark against the minister," said Vakil, adding, "I will come up with a formal response only I see the notification."
The state Congress is divided into three lobbies --- one headed by Sonia loyalist Saif-ud-Din Soz, another by Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and third by Taj Mohiuddin. All nurtures the ambition of becoming chief minister of the state. The prosecuted Congress leader, Vakil, is very close to Azad, who continues to influence state politics from New Delhi.